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Life’s Changes: Perimenopause / Menopause / Post-Menopause – Part 2

Life’s Changes: Perimenopause / Menopause / Post-Menopause – Part 2

What is Perimenopause?

This gradual phase before the permanent cessation of menstrual periods is sometimes called perimenopausee. The process of menopause is considered complete when a woman has not menstruated for an entire year. A simple lab test that measures FSH can indicate whether a woman is in menopause or near menopause. During this time, progesterone, if not already low, will decline 70% and more.

Declining progesterone, declining thyroid and declining testosterone can explain many of the symptoms suffered by perimenopausal women. Women may experience weight gain, declining libido, PMS, low energy, poor quality of sleep, irregular and/or difficult periods, low energy and irritability and even depression. Women are often “treated” with anti-depressants.

Perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the interval in which a woman’s body makes a natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.

Women start perimenopause at different ages. In your 40s, or even as early as your 30s, your may start noticing the signs. Your periods may become irregular — longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, sometimes more and sometimes less than 28 days apart. You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Treatments are available to help ease these symptoms.

Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over.

If you have any questions about the stages of your life, please email your question or questions to

By NBH, Director of Education & Research
NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss & Hormone Clinics, Medline South


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