What Is Perimenopause?
A Normal Stage in Life
Perimenopause is the time in a woman’s life when levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone in the body drop. A woman who has skipped periods for 12 consecutive months has reached menopause. Perimenopause is a normal experience and lasts between 4 and 10 years, often beginning when a woman is in her 40s or earlier. Many symptoms indicate that a woman is in the perimenopause stage of life.
When Does It Occur?
Most women start experiencing symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s or sometimes even their 30s. The average woman is 51 years old at the time of menopause. The transition is marked by fluctuating hormone levels. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels begin to increase about 5 years before menopause. During this stage, symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, anxiety, mood changes, bone loss, and memory problems start. These symptoms may mimic those of other health conditions.