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Peri-menopause is the time leading to the menopause and can last from a few months to years

What is peri-menopause?

Peri-menopause is the phase in a woman’s life before menopause or time of her final menstrual period. Medically, it starts when the first menopausal symptoms are first noticed and ends when the final menstrual period (or menopause ) has taken place. Peri-menopause can last from a few months to a few years.

The term “peri-menopause” is not commonly used. The common phrases used to refer to this time of life are ‘going through menopause’, ‘the change of life’ or simply, ‘the change’.

Peri-menopause is usually experienced after the age of 45. At this time, normal levels of hormones driving the reproductive or menstrual cycle start to decline and menopausal symptoms are triggered.

The most common menopausal symptoms experienced during peri-menopause are hot flushes and night sweats. In addition, a woman’s periods may become irregular or erratic and sometimes, heavier or more painful than normal.

Menopausal symptoms experienced during peri-menopause may continue even after a woman has stopped having her periods – known as the post-menopausal phase.

What are the symptoms of peri-menopause?

Menopausal symptoms experienced during peri-menopause are caused by a decline in the female hormones as she approaches menopause.

A wide range of symptoms may be experienced, but the most common are hot flushes and night sweats. The latter may lead to sleep problems as excessive sweats can wake the woman up. If severe, her partner’s sleep is also affected.

A lack of sleep can also have consequences on quality of life during the day – leading to irritability, low mood and anxiety.

Peri-menopause can also give rise to muscle pain and joint pain. These are usually confined to the upper part of the body with neck pain and shoulder pain.

Follow the link for a more detailed discussion on menopause symptoms.