Skip to content

    Menopause Health Center

    Select An Article

    Perimenopause

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Perimenopause, or menopause transition, begins several years before menopause. It's the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s, but can start in her 30s or even earlier.

    Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause, this drop in estrogen speeds up. At this stage, many women have menopause symptoms.

    Recommended Related to Menopause

    Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?

    Treatments for menopause symptoms have come and gone. Once, hormone therapy was the second most prescribed drug in the U.S. Then in 2002, a major study found problems and doctors backed off prescribing it. Now you hear a lot about both hormonal and nonhormonal treatments for menopause, including bioidentical hormones. What's right for you? Hormone therapy involves taking estrogen plus, in most cases progestin. Progestin helps lower the risk of getting endometrial cancer from taking estrogen...

    Read the Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You? article > >

    How Long Does Perimenopause Last?

    The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but for some women this stage may last only a few months or continue for 10 years. Perimenopause ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period.

    What Are the Signs of Perimenopause?

    Women in perimenopause have at least some these symptoms:

    Are My Perimenopausal Symptoms Normal or Something to Be Concerned About?

    Irregular periods are common and normal during perimenopause. But other conditions can cause changes in menstrual bleeding. If any of the following situations apply to you, see a doctor to rule out other causes:

    • Your periods are very heavy, or they have blood clots.
    • Your periods last several days longer than usual.
    • You spot between periods.
    • You have spotting after sex.
    • Your periods happen closer together.

    Causes of abnormal bleeding include hormone problems, birth control pills, pregnancy, fibroids, blood clotting problems or, rarely, cancer.

    How Is Perimenopause Diagnosed?

    Often your doctor can make the diagnosis of perimenopause based on your symptoms. A blood test to check hormone levels may also help, but your hormone levels are changing during perimenopause. It may be more helpful to have several blood tests done at different times for comparison.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    woman walking outdoors
    How to handle headaches, night sweats, and more.
    mature woman holding fan in face
    Symptoms and treatments.
     
    woman hiding face behind hands
    11 ways to keep skin bright and healthy.
    insomnia
    Is it menopause or something else?
     
    senior couple
    Video
    mature woman shopping for produce
    Article
     
    Alcohol Disrupting Your Sleep
    Article
    mature couple on boat
    Article
     
    mature woman tugging on her loose skin
    Slideshow
    senior woman wearing green hat
    Article
     
    estrogen gene
    Quiz
    supplements
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections