What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause refers to the time leading up to menopause, when a woman's body makes the natural transition toward permanent infertility. The hallmark of perimenopause is hormonal fluctuations, which can begin up to 10 years before menopause.

During the perimenopausal transition, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone — the hormones that regulate menstruation. As hormone levels rise and fall unevenly, women may experience irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, trouble sleeping, and other symptoms.

When does perimenopause start?
For most women, perimenopause starts in their 40s, but it can begin as early as 35. There's no reliable lab test to determine when you've entered this transitional stage, which typically lasts four years on average. The best way to tell is through the pattern of your menstrual cycle and any menopausal symptoms you may have.

Managing perimenopausal symptoms
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help ease this transition:

The end of perimenopause
When you haven't had a menstrual period for 12 straight months, you've reached menopause — the end of your reproductive years. The average age for menopause is 51.

Remember, perimenopause is a natural transition. Being informed about what to expect and getting the right care can help you stay healthy and comfortable during this time of change.

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