What is Perimenopause?

March 19, 2016 2 min read

Many women are familiar with the term menopause, but this period of life doesn’t just start overnight. Perimenopause (also called the menopausal transition) is the term used to describe the slow shift into menopause, and it comes with its own unique symptoms and treatments. Learn more in this helpful guide to perimenopause.

When Perimenopause Begins The time when perimenopause begins will differ for each woman. It starts when the body begins it natural transition towards menopause. For most women, this occurs sometimes in their 40s. However, some women notice perimenopause beginning as early as their mid-30s.

Perimenopause Symptoms Menstrual cycle irregularity is the main symptom of perimenopause, with periods often being lighter or heavier and ovulation becoming increasingly unpredictable. During this time, estrogen levels fluctuate as the body makes a transition to permanent infertility. Other symptoms may also develop during this time, such as hot flashes, sleep problems, mood changes, bone loss and high cholesterol. Some women also experience a decrease in libido, vaginal lubrication and vaginal elasticity.

Perimenopause Treatments Some women use hormone therapy, antidepressants and other drugs to treat the symptoms of perimenopause. Mainly, these drugs are used to treat hot flashes and night sweats. However, they are typically only administered in severe cases. Other women may use different pajama and cooling bedding fabrics and bedroom fans to help relieve these issues. A healthy diet, regular exercise, a consistent sleep schedule and stress reduction techniques can also help women deal with the symptoms of perimenopause.

When Does Perimenopause End? Menopause occurs when the body becomes permanently infertile. This stage is marked once a woman has gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. Once this occurs, the woman reaches the end of perimenopause and the beginning of menopause. Perimenopause is a natural stage that all women go through. However, having this information helps many women to anticipate and handle the symptoms as they occur to create a smoother transition into menopause.