Perimenopause and menopause can be very confusing for most women. The terms perimenopause and menopause are often confused. Each one refers to a particular stage, of the overall experience of menopause.
Women enter perimenopause at different ages. There isn’t a set age when a woman is said to be near perimenopause or menopause for that matter. One piece of data holds true, if a woman misses her period for 12 consecutive months, she has entered menopause.
In general, there are two described stages of the menopausal transition.
This stage tends to occur in the late 30s. At the very beginning of this stage, women may not have noticeable symptoms despite the hormonal changes, mainly a decreasing progesterone level, that have already begun to occur. It is characterized by women complaining of heavier periods and shorter cycles. The irregularities in the menstrual cycle tend to be noticed at this time. You may also experience worsened PMS symptoms, migraines, weight loss, worsening or new breast tenderness, and worsening or new period cramps.
This stage tends to occur in the mid-40s, prior to the occurrence of menopause. Here, the menstrual period tends to become lighter in flow and becomes more infrequent. It is common to have 2 or more skipped cycles consecutively. Generally, the symptoms of menstruation (breast tenderness, cramps, PMS symptoms, etc.) tend to improve. However, the symptoms of menopause, like night sweats and hot flashes, start to present.
The time span of early and late perimenopause together can cover approximately 10 years. If you’re not sure whether you’ve entered perimenopause, consult your primary care provider. For further support, join the It’sFetch Community – ask questions, drop tips and recommendations on your favorite products to relieve symptoms of perimenopause.
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-Written by Paavana Varanasi