The three stages most commonly associated with menopause are perimenopause (before menopause), menopause and postmenopause (after menopause).

Umbrella
What may the Menopause Stages Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Menopause
  • Perimenopause
  • Postmenopause

Three Stages

What are the three stages most commonly associated with menopause?

DotS the three stages commonly associated with menopause are:

  • Perimenopause (before Menopause)
  • Menopause
  • Postmenopause (after Menopause)

PerimenopausePerimenopause

What is perimenopause?

DotS the definition of perimenopause may vary. The International Menopause Society’s (IMS) definition is:

“Perimenopause – the time before; around and just after the actual moment of menopause”.1

The North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) definition is:

“The gradual transition between the reproductive years and menopause is called perimenopause (meaning around menopause). It is generally a transition lasting many years and can be associated with shorter menstrual intervals, irregular menses, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms. In some women, these symptoms are troublesome enough to require medical intervention”.2

The Australasian Menopause Society’s (AMS) definition is:

“The perimenopause is the time period preceding the menopause to one year after the menopause, and is characterised by hormonal fluctuation, anovulatory cycles and onset of cycle irregularity and symptoms. The menopause transition is the time period leading up to the final menstrual period. Hallmarks of the perimenopause are changes in a woman’s menstrual periods such as, irregular periods or changes in flow. Cycles can be shorter or longer in length. Symptoms may also include hot flushes and night sweats, aches and pains, fatigue or irritability, as well as premenstrual symptoms such as sore breasts”.3

Meno MarthaMenopause

What is menopause?

DotS the definition of menopause may vary. The World Health Organization’s definition is:

“Natural menopause is deemed to have occurred after 12 consecutive months without menstruation for which there is no other obvious physiological or pathological cause and in the absence of clinical intervention”.4

The IMS’s definition is:

“Menopause – the last day of a woman’s last period ever”.5

The NAM’s definition is:

“Menopause is a normal, natural event—defined as the final menstrual period and usually confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months (in the absence of other obvious causes)”.6

The AMS’s definition is:

“The term “menopause” refers to the final menstrual period”.7

PostmenopausePostmenopause

What is postmenopause?

DotS the definition of postmenopause may vary. The IMS’s definition is:

“Postmenopause – the stage after the final menstrual period”.8

The NAMS’s definition is:

Postmenopause includes all the years beyond menopause”.9

The (United States) Cleveland Clinic’s definition is:

“Postmenopause is the time after you’ve been without a menstrual period for 12 months. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, get milder or go away. People in postmenopause are at increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. Medication or healthy lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of these conditions”.10

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with my stage of menopause?

If you would like help with your stage of menopause, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

On page one in the Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause, first published 10 June 2022, Hamoda et al. include the recommendations:

  • “All women should be able to access advice on how they can optimise their menopause transition and the years beyond. There should be an individualised approach in assessing women experiencing the menopause, with particular reference to lifestyle advice, diet modification as well as discussion of the role of interventions including HRT
  • Women should be advised that implementing or maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve menopause symptoms. A healthy diet (one low in saturated fat and salt and rich in calcium and vitamin D), stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake and including regular exercise can be beneficial. Reducing caffeine intake may also improve symptoms
  • Alternative therapies, including cognitive behavioural therapy, may also improve hot flushes, nights sweats and other menopausal symptoms and can be considered in women who do not wish to take HRT or have contraindications to taking HR
  • The decision whether to take HRT, the dose and duration of its use should be made on an individualised basis after discussing the benefits and risks with each patient…”.11

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Sources

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Sources

  1. Menopause Terminology: Glossary of Terms – Perimenopause. 2022:4. International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/education/menopause-terminology/ Accessed: 03 November 2022
  2. Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What Is Perimenopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-an-introduction-to-menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  3. What Is Menopause? What Is Peri-Menopause (the Menopausal Transition)? Content Created May 2022. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/185-what-is-menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  4. Menopause: How Menopause Occurs. 17 October 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  5. Menopause Terminology: Glossary of Terms – Menopause. 2022:4. International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/education/menopause-terminology/ Accessed: 03 November 2022
  6. Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What Is Menopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-an-introduction-to-menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  7. What Is Menopause? Key Points. Content Created May 2022. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/185-what-is-menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  8. Menopause Terminology: Glossary of Terms – Postmenopause. 2022:4. International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/education/menopause-terminology/ Accessed: 03 November 2022
  9. Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What Is Postmenopause? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-an-introduction-to-menopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  10. Postmenopause. Last Reviewed: 05 October 2021. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21837-postmenopause Accessed: 03 November 2022
  11. Hamoda et al. Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause. Fist published 10 June 2022:3-4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20533691221104879 Accessed: 03 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 03 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 03 November 2022

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