General Article What is the perimenopause?

Topic Selected: Fertility and Reproduction Book Volume: 387

By Dr Samantha Wild, Clinical Lead for Women’s Health and Bupa GP

Often when people talk about ‘going through the menopause’ they’re actually talking about the perimenopause. The perimenopause is when your hormone levels start to change, but before your periods stop for good. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, both physically and mentally. Here I’ll talk about what the perimenopause is, ways to cope with it and how to look after your body as it changes.

What triggers the perimenopause?

The perimenopause is a natural stage of life that occurs as you age. In most people it will happen naturally between the ages of 45 and 60, and last for a few months to several years. Even a decade or more. During the perimenopause, your hormone levels change and your ovaries start to produce fewer eggs. Once you haven’t had a period for 12 months or more, you’ve officially reached the menopause.

Some people start experiencing the perimenopause before they are 40. This can be as a result of medica...

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