Perimenopause means literally "around menopause" and is a transitional stage of two to ten years before complete cessation of the menstrual period. Perimenopause usually appears in women from 35 to 50 years of age. This stage of menopause is characterized by hormone fluctuations, which cause the typical menopause symptoms
like menstrual irregularity.
Perimenopause is defined as the transitional time between the first irregular menstrual periods to the last one. As seen in the previous chapter (premenopause
) the “normal” menstrual cycle is the hormonal balance between estrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH. The fluctuations of these hormones cause the symptoms of perimenopause
These hormonal fluctuations vary among women, and consequently, each woman will get to know perimenopause differently. It is said that a woman usually has an experience similar to her mother's, but no woman can predict which symptoms she will experience or when she will experience them.
Pregnancies, birth control pills, the age when a woman began to menstruate, and breast-feeding have no impact on the beginning of perimenopause. The only reliable factor is smoking. If a woman smokes, she can count on starting perimenopause 1-2 years earlier than women who don't.