Understanding Perimenopause | Gleneagles Hospitals
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Women’s Health

Understanding Perimenopause

03 May 2024 · 3 mins read


Gain a deeper understanding about perimenopause including its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Difference Between Perimenopause and Menopause

Menopause Perimenopause
  • Menopause is marked by the cessation of egg production in a woman's ovaries and a gradual decline in the production of female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone).
  • Once a woman has gone without menstruating for 12 months consecutively, she is regarded as having reached menopause.
  • Perimenopause is a transitional phase between a woman's reproductive years and menopause.
  • It is a natural biological process that can start any time during a woman's 40s, although it can occur as early as a woman's mid-30s. 
  • During this stage, a woman's body begins to reduce oestrogen and progesterone production, which can lead to changes in her menstrual cycle, causing it to become irregular.
  • Perimenopause can last for several years, with the average duration being around 4 years, or as little as a few months or as long as 10 years. 

Symptoms of Perimenopause

Some women may experience only a few symptoms, while others may experience a wide range of symptoms, such as:

  1. Irregular menstrual periods with changes in cycle length and flow.
  2. Mood changes including mood swings, irritability, and depression due to hormonal fluctuations. 
  3. Sudden and intense sensations of body heat (hot flashes), often accompanied by sweating and flushing (night sweats) that last 5 to 10 minutes. This may contribute to sleep disturbances.
  4. Oestrogen reduction leads to vaginal dryness as the vaginal tissues lose their elasticity and lubrication, causing pain during sexual intercourse and leading to a decline in sexual desire.
  5. Fertility levels naturally decrease during perimenopause. However, pregnancy is still possible. Therefore, women who wish to avoid pregnancy should continue to use contraception until they have gone 12 consecutive months without a period.

Perimenopause symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they are usually not a cause for concern. However, do seek medical attention if you find it difficult to carry out daily tasks.

Some signs that you should seek medical advice include the following period blood clots, irregular spotting between cycles, bleeding after sex, and mood changes that disrupt your ability to function at work or in daily life.

Management of Perimenopause

Discomfort due to perimenopause can be managed, depending on severity:

  1. Use water-based vaginal lubricants and moisturisers to reduce vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  2. Incorporating lifestyle changes such as eating healthily and getting regular exercise to manage your weight gain and other symptoms of perimenopause, getting sufficient rest, and managing stress levels to improve overall well-being.
  3. Hormone therapy may be prescribed for those experiencing severe perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes and irregular periods.

Make an Appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Perimenopause is a natural stage of life in a woman that marks the transition from reproductive years to menopause. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and work together to develop a personalised treatment plan. With proper care, you can successfully navigate perimenopause and enjoy optimal health and wellness.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with our team of gynaecologists today, or find out more about our Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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