Perimenopause is the time before menopause when estrogen levels begin to drop and menstrual cycles become irregular. Many women enter perimenopause in their 40s, but it can begin as early as your 20s. While this phase usually lasts three to five years, its length is different for each woman.
Most women begin to experience the classic, menopause-related symptoms during perimenopause:
When your periods become irregular, it’s hard to know if an unusual period may be a sign of an underlying health problem. Contact your doctor at Tidewater Physicians for Women immediately if you experience any of the following during perimenopause:
After a year without a menstrual period, menopause has been reached. While estrogen levels fluctuate during perimenopause, causing irregular periods, hormones stabilize at a low level and periods stop once you’ve reached menopause. You may experience the same symptoms of perimenopause after hormone loss in menopause, yet you need to be aware of your levels as low estrogen increases your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective way to treat the symptoms caused by perimenopause and menopause. Hormone replacement may also prevent bone loss and fractures due to osteoporosis. Your doctor at Tidewater Physicians for Women will consider your age and medical history to determine if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
We have a team of compassionate experts at Tidewater Physicians for Women dedicated to supporting your transition through menopause. Whether you need hormone replacement therapy, preventive care, or treatment for changes in sexual function, our physicians, nurse practitioners, and licensed professional counselor are available to help guide the way.