“Perimenopause usually happens in a woman’s 40s
and on average lasts 4-6 years,
but can be as short as one year, or as long as 10”.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. On page four in Menopause Terminology: Glossary of Terms [English], published October 2022, the International Menopause Society’s (IMS) definition is:

“Perimenopause – the time before; around and just after the actual moment of menopause”.2

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”.3

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”.4

The (United Kingdom) NHS’s definition is:

  • “Perimenopause is when you have symptoms before your periods have stopped”.5

Changes

What happens at perimenopause?

In Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: What Happens At Perimenopause? the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“Changes to your periods are often the first sign of perimenopause, but other common symptoms include hot flushes and mood swings. Symptoms may come in waves and often get worse before your period, when oestrogen levels drop”.6

Periods

Do a woman’s periods simply stop or not?

Not usually. The NAMS explain:

“As a woman reaches perimenopause, changes in menstrual flow and frequency are common. A few women simply stop menstruating one day and never have another period. However, about 90% of women experience 4 to 8 years of menstrual-cycle changes before their periods are gone for good. Most report irregular periods”.7

Signs and Symptoms

What are some common signs and symptoms of perimenopause?

In Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Menopause – Symptoms the (British) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) explain about Symptoms:

“During perimenopause you might have symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, joint and muscle pain, vaginal dryness, mood changes and a lack of interest in sex”.8

In Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: Symptoms the JH note:

Meno Martha

“Symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular periods
  • Problems with falling asleep, staying asleep and sleep quality
  • Breast tenderness
  • Itchy/crawly/dry skin
  • Exhaustion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of libido (sex drive – talk to your doctor about sexual function if this concerns you)
  • Migraines
  • More pronounced premenstrual tension
  • Mood changes, such as feeling more teary and irritable. Anxiety may also occur
  • Weight gain, despite no changes to diet or exercise, due to the metabolism slowing down”.9

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 Hamoda et al. report:

“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”.10

Start

When may perimenopause start?

In Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the 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”.11

Duration

How long can perimenopause last?

In What Is Menopause? What Is Perimenopause (the Menopausal Transition)? the AMS 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

In Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: When Does Perimenopause Occur? the JH also note:

“Perimenopause usually happens in a woman’s 40s and on average lasts 4-6 years, but can be as short as one year, or as long as 10. When you have had no period, spotting or staining for 12 months, you have reached menopause and are then considered postmenopausal. However, symptoms may continue for months or years after menopause – every woman is different”.13

Menopause

When does perimenopause stop and menopause officially start?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over”.14

Therapies

What are some perimenopause therapies?

The JH explain:

“There are many different therapies available. One type may suit better than another. There are a number of other strategies including natural therapies and prescribed medications – such as the Pill – for women who have bothersome symptoms and do not wish to, or cannot take, MHT. It is recommended that women discuss all their options with a health practitioner who has expertise in women’s health. Treatments may help some symptoms, but the changes that menopause brings will still occur”.15

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”.16

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”.17

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Perimenopause?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Perimenopause?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: What Happens At Perimenopause? Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/perimenopause-fact-sheet Accessed: 10 October 2022
  2. 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: 29 October 2022
  3. 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: 10 October 2022
  4. 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: 10 October 2022
  5. Menopause: Overview. Page Last Reviewed: 17 May 2022. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/#when-to-see-your-gp Accessed: 10 October 2022
  6. Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: What Happens At Perimenopause? Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/perimenopause-fact-sheet Accessed: 10 October 2022
  7. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Guidebook: 3. Menopause Signs, Symptoms, and Strategies – Changes in Menstrual Periods. 8th Edition 2015:9
  8. Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Menopause – Symptoms. Published Date: 12 November 2015. Last Updated: 05 December 2019. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23/ifp/chapter/Menopause Accessed: 10 October 2022
  9. Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: What Happens At Perimenopause? Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/perimenopause-fact-sheet Accessed: 10 October 2022
  10. Hamoda H., 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. First Published Online 10 June 2022:1 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20533691221104879 Accessed: 10 October 2022
  11. Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 07 August 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666 Accessed: 10 October 2022
  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: 10 October 2022
  13. Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: When Does Perimenopause Occur? Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/perimenopause-fact-sheet Accessed: 10 October 2022
  14. Perimenopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 07 August 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666 Accessed: 10 October 2022
  15. Perimenopause – Fact Sheet: Treatment Options. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/perimenopause-fact-sheet Accessed: 10 October 2022
  16. What Is Menopause? When To See Your Doctor. Last Updated: 29 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause/ Accessed: 10 October 2022
  17. Menopause: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 14 October 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401 Accessed: 10 October 2022
Topic Last Updated: 03 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 10 October 2022

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