family at a pharmacy

What Is Perimenopause?

what is perimenopause
June 25, 2024

Here at Riverside Village Clinic, we value an environment where women feel comfortable and confident coming to us for their health concerns and needs. One of the ways we prioritize women’s health is by expert guidance through the menopause transition. If you’re approaching 40, or maybe you’re noticing a change in your period and mood, you may be wondering, what is perimenopause, and what can I do? Read on to learn more about this natural transition, and how our Nashville clinic can offer you support along the way.

Perimenopause vs. menopause: what’s the difference?

Perimenopause refers to the period of time when your body begins to naturally produce less estrogen and other hormones, your fertility can decline, and your menstrual cycle becomes unpredictable. The entire menopause transition can last for years, and perimenopause can take anywhere from 4 months to several years. When you have reached the point where you haven’t had a period in 12 consecutive months, you have officially left the perimenopause stage and are now “in menopause”.

When does perimenopause start?

Every woman is different, so there is no set age when perimenopause begins. Some may notice signs in their 40s, some not until their late 40s or even early 50s. In some cases, perimenopause can start as early as your mid to late 30s.

What are the signs and symptoms of perimenopause?

signs of perimenopause

  • Irregular menstrual cycle– shorter or longer, heavier or lighter bleeding, etc. and/or changes in PMS symptoms
  • Hot flashes– sudden feelings of warmth spreading through the body
  • Vaingal dryness– discomfort during sex
  • Needing to urinate more frequently the usual
  • Insomnia– trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression

Abnormal periods don’t necessarily indicate you’re going through perimenopause, so how do you know if your symptoms are something to be concerned about? It’s always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider about any changes to your cycle, such as spotting or bleeding after your period or after sex, periods occurring closer together or lasting longer than 7 days, as well as heavier flow than normal accompanied by clots, as these could potentially indicate other issues.

Can I still get pregnant during perimenopause?

If you still get a period, even if it’s irregular, that means you’re ovulating, so it would be possible to get pregnant. You can assume that until you haven’t had a period for 12 months consecutively, then you’re still ovulating.

What can I do to ease perimenopause symptoms?

woman applying hormone cream

There is no “cure” for perimenopause or a way to stop the menopausal transition; however, there are several options when it comes to finding relief from the frustrating symptoms that result. For example, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a natural treatment that is created from plant-based materials to create hormones that are chemically the same as those your body produces. Hormone therapy addresses the fluctuations and imbalances that occur during perimenopause, getting your hormone levels back to normal and improving both your physical and mental health in the process.

So, what is perimenopause? This first stage in the body’s natural process marks the end of your reproductive years. Have more questions about hormone therapy as a treatment option for symptom relief? Schedule a women’s sexual health consultation, and let us know how we can help. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals can answer your questions and provide personalized guidance on the best steps to take toward better health. We look forward to hearing from you!

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