is the transition period from your fertile time of life toward your
menopausal and postmenopausal life. Perimenopause can begin approximately
eight to ten years before the onset of menopause. The first years
of perimenopause are hardly noticeable; in your 40s or late 30s,
with the gradual variation of estrogen and progesterone, you might
notice changes in your menstrual cycle, such as irregular periods.
Perimenopause becomes noticeable closer to the onset of menopause,
when certain noticeable symptoms start up. These symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Hot flashes
- Decreased libido
- Increased symptoms of PMS
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Urinary problems such as incontinence and urgency
For some women,
perimenopause lasts only a few months. Menopause begins when your
ovaries stop releasing eggs and your periods stop.
Until then, any changes you experience are part of perimenopause.
If you’re unsure about the symptom you are experiencing,
talk to your provider. He or she will be able to appraise your
and conclude if you are indeed experiencing perimenopause. When
you begin to experience these symptoms, it’s very important
to start keeping on top of your health to get your body ready to
these symptoms and the symptoms that will come with menopause.
One of the most important things to remember during perimenopause
that you can still get pregnant. Your fertility does begin to slightly
decrease as you get into your forties, but that doesn’t mean
that pregnancy can’t happen. Your ability to get pregnant
will only stop after one year of no periods due to menopause. That
use birth control if you don’t plan on having a child. Also,
it’s useful to remember that as you get older, you are at
increased risk for complicated pregnancies and having a child with
Syndrome. Many women can continue to take their birth control pills
throughout perimenopause and up until menopause. A low-dose birth
control pill might also help with some of your symptoms. Using
a condom or another reliable source of birth control will also
to protect against surprise pregnancies at this time in your life.
Although perimenopause is a natural progression in most women’s
lives, sometimes the stage will be skipped if menopause is induced.
Menopause can be induced by surgery, +/- radiation or chemotherapy.
After a hysterectomy, if both the uterus and the ovaries were removed,
your body will prompt menopause, and you can expect to skip perimenopause
and cut right to the chase and experience the symptoms of menopause.
If only your uterus was removed in the hysterectomy, then you will
not have induced menopause, but your periods will stop. You may
have the option of leaving one or both ovaries when you have a
Discuss this with your provider.