What Are Menopause And Perimenopause?

Perimenopause and menopause are stages in a woman’s life that denote the end of her fertility. Both these stages usually occur in her forties or fifties. However, the journey is unique to each woman and her hormonal cycle. While menopause is a concept that most women are aware of, perimenopause is not that common a term and is often confused with menopause.

How To Know If It’s Perimenopause Or Menopause?

It can be tough to differentiate perimenopause symptoms with that of menopause as they mostly overlap. However, there is a simple, clear distinction between the two. A woman is said to be menopausal at the date of her last period when she has crossed 12 months – not including her pregnancy cycle – without getting her period.

On the other hand, perimenopause is the stage just preceding the menopause stage in a woman’s life. Peri means ‘around’ or ‘about.’ So, perimenopause is the stage around menopause, or the stage right before a woman is about to go into menopause. Perimenopause can last anywhere from a few months to four years.

Perimenopause is when a woman’s ovaries produce fewer hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. It can lead to shorter, erratic or irregular cycles. As a result, her fertility is at an all-time low. However, she may still get pregnant.

There are two stages of perimenopause:

Early-stage perimenopause: It is the stage when a woman’s menstrual cycle begins to get erratic. It is when her periods are delayed by a week or more in the course of several cycles or months.

Late-stage perimenopause: When a woman faces a gap of 2 months or more between some menstrual cycles, she is said to have entered late-stage perimenopause.

What Are Five Of The Most Common Symptoms Of Perimenopause?

Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are often the same and can be confusing to decipher. The five most common symptoms of perimenopause are:

Apart from these, a woman can also experience other symptoms like urinary urgency, weakening of bones, weight gain, reduced sex drive, forgetfulness, issues concentrating, and changes in cholesterol levels. All these symptoms are linked to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels in a woman’s body due to a fertility shift.

Is Perimenopause Worse Than Menopause?

Perimenopause is an inevitable stage a woman must cross to reach menopause. Since symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause are the same, there aren’t many differences in the intensity of the pain. However, perimenopause as a concept is not very common for a woman. When they go through symptoms of perimenopause, most women would not be able to understand if what they’re feeling is expected or if their body is undergoing significant hormonal changes. The confusion and anxiety add to the woes during the perimenopause stage.

However, with advancements in science and technology, we have various sources of allopathic medicines and home remedies at our disposal that can help alleviate the symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause. Increased awareness and knowledge are crucial to asking the right questions and accessing the right treatment.

What Is The Best Natural Remedy For Perimenopause?

A woman can manage her perimenopausal symptoms through hormone therapy and certain doctor-recommended medications. However, she will also need to make a few lifestyle changes to stay healthy. Some home remedies are:

  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and legumes
  • Performing exercises like walking, yoga, and strength training
  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Meditation and other stress management techniques
  • Adopting healthy sleep practices
  • Taking supplements such as DIM (Diindolylmethane) and MACA root.

Menopause Series by Dr. Sherina Fernandes:

Why Sleep Is Important for Women’s Health, Particularly Around Menopause

How Diet Can Affect Your Health During Menopause

What Is Menopause And What Is Happening To The Body?

Why Stress Management Can Help With Menopause?