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    Menopause and Perimenopause - What Happens

    In your late 30s, your egg supply begins to decline in number and quality. As a result, your hormone production changes. You may notice a shortened menstrual cycle and some premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that you didn't have before.

    Gradually, your periods become irregular. This can start as early as your late 30s or as late as your early 50s. It continues for 2 to 8 years before menstrual cycles end.

    Recommended Related to Menopause

    10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Hormone Therapy During Menopause

    The term "hormone replacement therapy" or HRT, refers to hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone that are taken regularly to stabilize and increase a menopausal woman's hormone levels. It's good to know all the options that are available, from pills to patches, creams, and vaginal rings. Your doctor can explain them.

    Read the 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Hormone Therapy During Menopause article > >

    During this time, your ovaries are sometimes producing too much estrogen and/or progesterone and at other times too little. Your progesterone is likely to fluctuate more than before. This can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding. (If you have heavy or unexpected vaginal bleeding, see your doctor to be sure it isn't caused by a more serious condition.)

    About 6 months to a year before your periods stop, your estrogen starts to drop. When it drops past a certain point, your menstrual cycles stop. After a year of no menstrual periods, you are said to have "reached menopause."

    During the next year or so, estrogen levels keep going down. This lowers your risk for certain types of cancers (estrogen is linked to some types of cancerous cell growth). But low estrogen also creates some health concerns, such as:

    Although the reasons aren't well understood, a woman's risk of heart disease increases after menopause. Because heart disease is the number one killer of women, consider your heart risk factors when making lifestyle and treatment decisions.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 2/, 014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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