“Perimenopause usually happens sometime in your 40s.
On average, it lasts four to six years,
but it can last from one to 10 years”.1

Umbrella

What may the Perimenopause Umbrella include?

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

  • Climacteric
  • Late Reproductive Stage (LRS)
  • Menopausal Transition/Transitional Phase
  • Menopause Transition/Transitional Phase
  • Perimenopausal/Peri-menopausal Changes
  • Perimenopause/Peri-menopause
  • The Transition To Menopause
  • Time Leading Up To Menopause

Definition

Perimenopause What is perimenopause?

DotS the definition of perimenopause may vary.

In Menopause: Key Facts the World Health Organization’s definition is:

  • “The menopausal transition can be gradual, usually beginning with changes in the menstrual cycle. ‘Perimenopause’ refers to the period from when these signs are first observed and ends one year after the final menstrual period”.2

On page four in Menopause Terminology: Glossary of Terms [English] the International Menopause Society’s definition is:

“Perimenopause – the time before; around and just after the actual moment of menopause”.3

In The 2023 Practitioner’s Toolkit for Managing Menopause: Definitions, published online 30 October 2023, the authors’ definition is:

  • “Perimenopause is the time from the onset of cycle irregularity through until 12 months after the final menstrual period”.4

In Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What Is Perimenopause? 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”.5

First Sign

What is usually the first sign of perimenopause?

In Menopause: Symptoms – Common Symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause: Changes To Your Periods the NHS explain:

“The first sign of the perimenopause is usually, but not always, a change in the normal pattern of your periods, for example they become irregular.

Eventually you’ll stop having periods altogether”.6

Physical Symptoms

What may some physical symptoms include?

In Symptoms of Menopause: Physical and Emotional Symptoms — Physical Symptoms the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

Perimenopause

“Physical symptoms may include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Sore breasts
  • Itchy, crawly or dry skin
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Dry vagina
  • Loss of sex drive (libido)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • More pronounced premenstrual tension (PMS)
  • Aches and pains
  • Bloating
  • Urinary problems
  • Weight gain due to a slower metabolism”.7

Emotional Symptoms

What may some emotional symptoms include?

In Symptoms of Menopause: Physical and Emotional Symptoms — Psychological and Emotional Symptoms the JH explain:

“Psychological and emotional symptoms may include:

  • Feeling irritable or frustrated
  • Feeling anxious
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain fog
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lowered mood
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling you can’t cope as well as you used to”.8

Common or Not

How common are menopausal symptoms?

On page one in 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 one of the recommendations is:

“The menopause transition can have a significant impact on many women, with more than 75% experiencing menopausal symptoms and a quarter describing their symptoms as severe. A third experience long-term symptoms, which may last as much as 7 years or longer”.9

Start

When may perimenopause start?

In Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Women start perimenopause at different ages. You may notice signs of progression toward menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s”.10

In What Is Menopause? Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause – Perimenopause? the JH also note:

“Perimenopause usually happens sometime in your 40s. On average, it lasts four to six years, but it can last from one to 10 years”.11

Duration

How long can perimenopause last?

In What Is Menopause? What Is Perimenopause (the Menopausal Transition)? the Australasian Menopause Society elaborate on:

“Some women can experience menopausal symptoms for 5-10 years before their final menstrual period. Age at which a woman’s menopausal symptoms will start or how long they will last, is not able to be predicted”.12

Menopause

When does perimenopause stop and menopause officially start?

In Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the Mayo Clinic explain:

“Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over”.13

Hormone Therapy

Can hormone therapy help improve symptoms of menopause?

In Mayo Clinic Q and A: Perimenopause Transitions and Concerns, dated 20 July 2023, the Mayo Clinic note:

“Although it is often a source of concern, hormone therapy also can help improve symptoms of menopause. Estrogen therapy is still the most effective treatment option for relieving hot flashes. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. There are also nonhormonal options. It is important to talk to your healthcare team about the risks and benefits of each treatment, and which one is right for you”.14

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with perimenopause?

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

In What Is Menopause? When To See Your Doctor the JH explain:

“Talk to your doctor if you are worried about:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Increased premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms
  • Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, that interfere with your daily life”.15

In Menopause: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Before deciding on any form of treatment, talk with your doctor about your options and the risks and benefits involved with each. Review your options yearly, as your needs and treatment options may change”.16

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z related to Perimenopause?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Perimenopause?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. What Is Menopause? Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause – Perimenopause? Last Updated: 18 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 16 May 2024
  2. Menopause: Key Facts. 17 October 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/menopause Accessed: 16 May 2024
  3. Glossary of Terms [English]. October 2022:4. International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/IMS-English-Factsheet-4-glossary.pdf Accessed: 16 May 2024
  4. Davis, S. R., Taylor, S., Hemachandra, C., Magraith, K., Ebeling, P. R., Jane, F., and Islam, R. M. The 2023 Practitioner’s Toolkit for Managing Menopause: Definitions. Published Online: 30 October 2023 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13697137.2023.2258783 Accessed: 16 May 2024
  5. 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: 16 May 2024
  6. Menopause: Symptoms – Common Symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause: Changes To Your Periods. Page Last Reviewed: 17 May 2022. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/ Accessed: 16 May 2024
  7. Symptoms of Menopause: Physical and Emotional Symptoms — Physical Symptoms. Last Updated: 21 April 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms#physical-and-emotional-symptoms Accessed: 16 May 2024
  8. Symptoms of Menopause: Physical and Emotional Symptoms — Psychological and Emotional Symptoms. Last Updated: 21 April 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms#physical-and-emotional-symptoms Accessed: 16 May 2024
  9. Hamoda, H., Mukherjee, A., Morris, E., Baldeweg, S. E., Jayasena, C. N., Briggs, P., Moger, S. 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 Online 10 June 2022:1 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20533691221104879 Accessed: 16 May 2024
  10. Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 25 May 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666 Accessed: 16 May 2024
  11. What Is Menopause? Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause – Perimenopause? Last Updated: 18 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 16 May 2024
  12. What Is Menopause? What Is Perimenopause (the Menopausal Transition)? Content Created May 2022. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/185-what-is-menopause Accessed: 16 May 2024
  13. Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 25 May 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666 Accessed: 16 May 2024
  14. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Perimenopause Transitions and Concerns. 20 July 2023. Mayo Clinic https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-perimenopause-transitions-and-concerns/ Accessed: 16 May 2024
  15. What Is Menopause? When To See Your Doctor. Last Updated: 18 January 2024 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause/ Accessed: 16 May 2024
  16. Menopause: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 25 May 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401 Accessed: 16 May 2024
Topic Last Updated: 23 May 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 16 May 2024

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