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Is this Menopause! Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to menopause when hormonal fluctuations and changes in the menstrual cycle begin to occur.

Here are some of the common early signs of perimenopause:

  • Irregular periods: Menstrual cycles may become shorter or longer, and the flow might be heavier or lighter than usual.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle: You might experience skipped periods or have periods that are closer together.
  • Hot flashes: Sudden waves of heat and redness that often start in the chest or face and can last for a few minutes. These can be accompanied by sweating and sometimes chills.
  • Night sweats: Hot flashes that occur during sleep, leading to excessive sweating and waking up feeling damp.
  • Sleep disturbances: Changes in hormones can impact sleep quality, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Mood changes: Hormonal fluctuations can cause mood swings, irritability, and mild depressive symptoms.
  • Vaginal and urinary changes: You might experience vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, and urinary symptoms like increased frequency or urgency.
  • Changes in sexual desire: Some women notice changes in their libido during perimenopause.
  • Breast tenderness: Hormonal changes can lead to breast tenderness or fullness.
  • Fatigue: Changes in hormone levels can contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

It’s important to note that perimenopause can start several years before menopause itself.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you’re in the typical age range for perimenopause (late 30s to early 50s), it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can help confirm whether you’re in perimenopause and provide guidance on managing any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Accepting its Menopause

Accepting menopause can be a significant emotional and psychological process. It’s normal to experience a range of feelings as you navigate this life transition. Here are some tips that might help you with accepting and adapting to menopause:

  1. Educate Yourself: Understanding the biological and hormonal changes that come with menopause can help demystify the process and reduce anxiety. Knowing what to expect can make the transition feel less overwhelming.
  2. Open Communication: Talk to friends, family, or support groups about your experiences. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others who are going through or have gone through menopause can provide comfort and a sense of camaraderie.
  3. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical and emotional well-being. This can include regular exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.
  4. Medical Guidance: Consult a healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and treatment options. They can provide tailored advice and interventions to manage any discomfort you might be experiencing.
  5. Positive Mindset: Focus on the positive aspects of this life phase. Many women find relief from menstrual-related symptoms and enjoy a new sense of freedom from birth control concerns.
  6. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help ease some menopausal symptoms. This includes staying active, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and staying hydrated.
  7. Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practices like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with menopause.
  8. Wardrobe Adjustments: Menopause can bring about changes in body temperature regulation. Dressing in layers and wearing breathable fabrics can help you manage fluctuations in body heat.
  9. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For some women, hormone replacement therapy may be a suitable option to manage severe symptoms. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider.
  10. Embrace the Journey: View menopause as a natural phase of life rather than a negative event. Embrace the wisdom and experience that come with age.

Remember that everyone’s experience with menopause is unique, and it’s okay to take time to adjust to the changes. If you find that your feelings are overwhelming or interfering with your daily life, consider seeking support from a mental health professional who can provide guidance and coping strategies.


If you need help navigating your current stage of life, we are running a Perimenopause / MenoPause online support group:


Hot flashes, depression, insomnia or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or peri-menopause.

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.

Menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones. If you have surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus and are not taking hormones, you will experience the symptoms of menopause immediately.

This time in a woman’s life is often full of other transitions—not just physical ones. Women may be caring for aging parents or relatives, supporting their children as they move into adulthood, or taking on new responsibilities at work.

Is It Menopause?

If you are having symptoms commonly associated with the menopausal transition, your doctor may ask questions about your age, symptoms, and family history to determine if it really is the menopausal transition causing your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may suggest a blood test to check your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol (E2) levels to rule out any other causes for the changes you’re experiencing.

The menopausal transition, sometimes called perimenopause, begins several years before a woman’s last period. During this time, women may experience spotty menstrual cycles, hot flashes, and other changes. While this time is commonly referred to as “menopause,” menopause doesn’t happen until 1 year after the final menstrual period.

After menopause, women enter post-menopause. Post-menopausal women are more vulnerable to heart disease and osteoporosis. At this time, it is important to eat a healthy diet and make sure you get lots of calcium to keep your bones strong.

A woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant should continue to use birth control for at least a full 12 months after her last period.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of menopause. Looking for some relief? Read about options to reduce hot flashes and ways to get a better night’s sleep.