How much do you know about perimenopause? Like most things to do with ovary-owner’s bodies, there’s a huge lack of teaching and knowledge around this area. If you have ovaries, at some point you’ll go through the menopause, so it’s good to be prepared so you can identify what is going on within your own body. (Spoiler alert: menopause is not something that’s just going to happen to you in your 50s and all of a sudden you don’t get periods anymore!)
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Perimenopause means ‘around the time of menopause’ and refers to the time during which the body makes the natural transition to menopause. Many of the changes experienced during perimenopause are a result of decreasing oestrogen and progesterone. If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms but still having periods, then you are perimenopausal. You can expect to go through this “pre” menopausal stage for about four years; however, some can experience anything from a few months to 10 years of symptoms (!!) Perimenopause ends when there has been 12 consecutive months without having a period.
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To give you a rough guide, in the UK most begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid 40s, with the average being 47. The average age of the menopause is 51 years; however, perimenopause or menopausal transition occurs in the years before periods stop. Interestingly, figures seem to vary by ethnicity and can be affected by lifestyle and where you live.
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Symptoms can be:
Irregular periods (common first sign), Hot flushes, Night sweats, Mood changes, Depression, Sleep changes, Vaginal dryness and changes in sexual function, Decreased libido, Urinary weakness, Weight gain, A fuzzy head and Joint pain.
Sounds fun, hey?! 🙄😳
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It’s a good idea to keep a track of your symptoms so you can understand your body and any changes that are happening. It’s also important to a find a good doctor who you feel comfortable with-so shop around if you have to!
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NOTE: Perimenopause is not the same as early menopause, which is when periods stop before the age of 40 years. Post menopause is once you’ve had a year since your final period.

(Sources: Patient.info/livi.co.uk)