Perimenopause is the span of years before menopause when a woman's
hormone levels and menstrual periods become irregular. Perimenopause has been
described as "going through menopause" or "being in menopause."
After 1 year of having no periods, a woman has reached menopause.
This is usually around age 50. In the years before menopause, changing hormone
levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, cause perimenopausal symptoms.
These typically start in a woman's mid-40s, and they continue for a year or two
Some women have mild perimenopausal symptoms. Others have severe
symptoms that affect their sleep and daily lives. Symptoms can include:
Unpredictable changes in menstrual pattern,
including heavier or lighter blood flows and shorter or longer
Night sweats and sleep problems
Memory problems and lack of
Anxiety, irritability, and
Vaginal itching or
dryness, causing discomfort during sexual activity.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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