What Is Perimenopause?

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Laura Corio, MD, Ob-Gyn
How does perimenopause differ from menopause? Perimenopause is the 4 to 7 years prior to menopause. Menopause is the cessation of your period for more than a year, but perimenopausal women are still bleeding. They are having irregular cycles. They may be bleeding heavily, they may be bleeding lightly, very irregularly or very frequently, but it is before the menopause. And so the average age of perimenopause is about 46 whereas the average age of menopause is about 51.

But women think that it's... I'm going through menopause when I have hot flashes and all that stuff. That's incorrect. You're going through perimenopause when you have that.

Laura Corio, MD, Ob-Gyn
Right. 80 percent of women have hot flashes during perimenopause. And it seems that once you go a full year without a period and you're now entering your post menopausal years your symptoms should improve.