Perimenopause vs. Menopause

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Menopause is a well-known term in society, especially among women. It is a phase of a woman’s lifecycle that is usually an indication that her reproductive ability has stopped. It is usually marked by a decrease in the reproductive hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, which causes the absence of a period. Menopause has various phases with various symptoms in each phase. It is important to be educated on these phases as they can affect one’s quality of life in different ways.

Stages of Menopause

Technically menopause consists of 4 stages consisting of premenopause, perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.


Premenopause is a phase where a woman will experience hormonal changes but will still get her menstrual cycle monthly. The cycle might be thrown out a bit. This usually happens at an earlier age when a female is seen to still be in her fertile years around the ages of 25 to 35 years.


Studies have shown that perimenopause starts about 8-10 years before a woman experiences menopause. Perimenopause is marked when the ovaries produce lower levels of oestrogen. This will cause irregular periods and some hormonal disturbances. This can occur from as early as the mid-thirties to as late as the mid-fifties. The duration can also differ as some women might only experience perimenopause for a few months others experience it for an average of four to eight years. During this period a woman’s fertility starts to decline but a pregnancy can still occur.


A woman is diagnosed with menopause when she has gone a period of 12 months without any menstrual bleeding. Menopause occurs after the perimenopausal phase is completed. Women are usually somewhere between the ages of 45 years to 55 years while the average age for a woman to experience menopause is 51 years. Although menopause goes along with the absence of menstrual bleeding, it also includes a variety of signs and symptoms that are caused by the extremely low levels of oestrogen and progesterone as the ovaries are not producing optimal levels anymore.


Menopause and Fertility

Typically during this phase a female has passed her fertility years and will not be able to naturally conceive a child of her own, except in some cases where assisted reproductive techniques (ART) can be used as an alternative option. This is also the period where a female has an increased risk of developing osteoporosis caused by low levels of oestrogen that is absent in supporting optimal bone health.


Postmenopause refers to the period that one enters after the completion of the menopausal period. During this phase, a female has not experienced menstrual bleeding for longer than 12 months and menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes start to subside. This is also the phase where women are vulnerable to osteoporosis and are not fertile anymore since they are not ovulating.

Perimenopause and Menopausal Signs and Symptoms

Perimenopause and menopause bring about a range of signs and symptoms as women transition through these phases of life. Discover more about the signs and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause below:


One of the first signs of perimenopause is irregular menstrual bleeding, especially in women who have a stable cycle. Women can also experience breast tenderness, weight gain, lower libido and muscle aches.  One will still be able to ovulate but the fertility status will be low as the reproductive hormones are starting to decline. There is a chance to become pregnant during this phase, although unlikely, it can happen but it might be more difficult and take more time to conceive.


Due to the extreme drop in oestrogen levels, a woman can experience the following symptoms during menopause:

  • Night Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Hot Flushes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Mood Disruptions: such as depression or mood swings.

How to Manage Menopause and Perimenopause

Managing menopause and perimenopause involves adopting various strategies to alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being. Lifestyle adjustments such as maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques can help mitigate symptoms like hot flushes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Discover more below:

Menopause and Perimenopause: Natural Remedies

Non-pharmacological elements to include in your daily routine are maintaining a healthy diet, and getting in some physical activity like a brisk walk or moderate training. It is also important to consider to stop smoking and only consume alcohol in moderate amounts. This is especially important when women are taking hormone replacement therapy to alleviate menopausal symptoms, as the medication along with smoking can increase one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease or form blood clots.


Menopause and Perimenopause: Medications and Therapies

Pharmacological elements that can help to manage the side effects are hormone replacement therapy. These are medications that contain hormones, either oestrogen or oestrogen and progesterone, that will help to increase the hormonal level and alleviate some of the symptoms. These medications come in all forms such as tablets, vaginal creams or patches. Vaginal creams or tablets can be used to alleviate vaginal dryness whereas patches can be used as it has a reduced risk of causing blood clots. In severe cases where a woman experiences mood swings or depression, the option is there to consider antidepressants if the doctor feels it is necessary.


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