The perimenopause is the ‘change before the change’, the start of the transition towards menopause. Perimenopause is the six to ten year period leading up to menopause. So to understand what the perimenopause is, we first need to define the menopause. The menopause is the moment after perimenopause, when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months.
Perimenopause usually starts in a woman;s 40s, but can often start in their 30s. It starts as the ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen. The decline in oestrogen accelerates in the last one to two years. At this stage, we menopausal symptoms start to occur causing confusion and unpredictable inconveniences.
Woman transitioning into menopause will begin experiencing some or all of the following early menopause symptoms:
- Hot flushes
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Worsening of premenstrual syndrome
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex.
- Urinary urgency (a pressing need to urinate more frequently).
What to do next?
Trust your feelings and speak to those that can help. This could be a your friends, close family or a health expert. ‘Its good to talk’ – open up the lines of communication with female friends and those who love you. Explain what’s happening in your body and mind.