Perimenopause is your reproductive system slowly winding down over 10 to 15 years, in anticipation of menopause, the end of your childbearing years. (“Peri” means around and “menopause” means cessation of monthly periods).
Perimenopausal ovaries no longer produce the same levels of testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen.
Perimenopause is a natural part of ageing. It is not a disease, however, you can treat it as if it is.
Some women have no or very mild symptoms. However, in many women they can lead to
- insomnia, fatigue,
- weight gain,
- mood swings,
- hot flashes,
- menstrual problems and
- loss of sexual desire.
Around age 35, your hormones will let you know if your reproductive systems is shutting down. You will probably feel perimenopausal symptoms of varying intensity from age 42 until 51 and serious issues can last for upward of 3 to 6 years if you do not take steps to control it.
Menopause occurs the day after your final period finishes, so it’s not possible to determine when it will occur as you are official in menopuase only if you have not had a period for one full year. It is THE END of menstruation and fertility. (“Mens” is Greek for month and “pausis” means cease.)
Menopause is also called “the change of life” or “climacteric”. Many people use the term “menopause” to also cover perimenopause, when symptoms of the change of life begin, but this is not correct.
Menopause may be a survival adaptation in humans. Perhaps it evolved to provide experienced caregivers who could guard and teach grandchildren, supplement the food supply, and increase their grandchildren’s chances of survival in times of privation. So you can see it as nature marking you as someone of wisdom, empathy and of siginficant value in the survival of our species.
It can be a very serious badge of honor.