Ask the Nurse

What’s the difference between pre menopause, perimenopause and menopause? How will I know when I’m there?

Some of the confusion about menopause is purely semantics. When a woman’s hormones begin to fluctuate during midlife, it is sometimes referred to as premenopause. The actual medical term for this time of fluctuation is pre menopause or menopause transition.

Perimenopause usually begins sometime during a woman’s 40s and lasts a full 12 months after her final period. This transitional period in a woman’s life lasts from one to seven years on average. During this time, ovarian function becomes erratic and you may detect physical signs such as:

  • hot flashes
  • mood swings
  • irregular periods

When the ovaries stop releasing eggs altogether and a woman no longer has periods, it’s official – it’s menopause. While each woman will experience this process differently, the average age for a woman to reach menopause in the United States is 51.3 years. Most women have hot flashes before, during and up to a few years after menopause, however, some women can have symptoms for decades!

All my best,
Speaking of Women’s Health nurse

January 8, 2016 at 5:09pm