March 24, 2023

Perimenopause and Menopause – The Differences

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Perimenopause and menopause are two stages in a woman’s reproductive life cycle that are followed by hormonal changes and the end of menstruation. Both stages have similarities and differences.

Differences between Perimenopause and Menopause include:

  1. Perimenopause is the stage leading up to menopause, whereas menopause is the point at which a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
  2. Perimenopause can last several years, whereas menopause typically lasts for the rest of a woman’s life.
  3. During perimenopause, a woman’s menstrual cycle may become irregular, whereas, during menopause, a woman stops menstruating altogether.
  4. Symptoms of perimenopause tend to be milder than those of menopause.
  5. Women may still be able to conceive during perimenopause, but fertility declines rapidly during menopause.

A woman’s ovaries begin to generate less estrogen during perimenopause, which can affect her menstrual cycles and cause a variety of symptoms like hot flashes, nocturnal sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.

Contrarily, the term “menopause” refers to the period after a woman has gone 12 months without having her period. The absence of egg release from the ovaries and a marked decline in estrogen production are the causes of this.

Compared to menopause, perimenopause symptoms are typically milder and more intermittent.

Estrogen levels may shift during perimenopause, changing menstrual cycles and causing irregular periods. Whereas, the estrogen levels remain low and stable leading to frequent and more severe symptoms. 

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Pregnancy During Perimenopause

Women may still be able to get pregnant throughout the perimenopause, but this ability is gradually fading. Menstrual cycles may become erratic when estrogen levels vary and drop, making ovulation prediction more challenging.

Ovulation can still happen and women can still become pregnant during this period. It is important to note that the following information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for any other purpose. In contrast, menopause causes a rapid drop in fertility, making it unable to conceive naturally. This is a result of the ovaries no longer producing eggs and the body’s low estrogen and progesterone levels. 

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health-related content, note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician.

Written by Karen Manalac

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