Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on June 21, 2012

Sources

Laura Corio, MD. Ob-Gyn, NYU Medical Center

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Video Transcript

Narrator: How can I tell if I'm in perimenopause?

Laura Corio, MD: Okay first of all, the first sign of perimenopause, and it has to be there, is a change in your menstrual cycle. There are many women who come to see me and declare that they're in perimenopause. But clearly they're not. You have to see first a change in your period. And, like I said, it could be heavier, it could be lighter, it could be shorter, it could go on and on, many, many days. It could start coming less than 21 days. It could go on in cycles every couple months. But you've got to see a change. And then you can have symptoms such as hot flashes, and night sweats, and insomnia, and mood swings, palpitations, migraines, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, memory glitches, weight gain, weight gain, weight gain, but clearly the first sign has to be a change in your periods.

Narrator: So, some of those symptoms sound an awful lot like PMS. How can I tell if I'm PMSing or in perimenopause?

Laura Corio, MD: PMS or Pre Menstrual Syndrome is really more the second half of your cycle. Your periods have not changed. But your symptoms, the first week after your period you're OK. Two weeks prior to your period all of the sudden you start having symptoms like breast soreness, or bloating, mood swings, but it's not the whole cycle. And when you talk to perimenopausal women their symptoms are occurring anytime. Anytime in the cycle, if they even have a cycle.