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Women's health

What is perimenopause?

We have turned to the Menopause support app Olivia to find out what’s the deal with menopause. In a 4-part series you will get to immerse yourself in the timeline of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. In this text you will get to know more about perimenopause.

There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Most women will go through all these stages. However, it varies a lot in duration and the level of intensity in which you experience symptoms during the different stages.

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the start of your menopause journey; it represents the years leading up to menopause. You may not recognise it being symptoms of menopause until you experience heat waves that turn your whole world upside down. But menopause can also consist of other physical and psychological symptoms. These can affect your mental health and your mood before menopause starts and then you might not always understand why you are experiencing it and what causes it.

Today there are 34 official symptoms of menopause, but the number of symptoms that women experience but don’t report are actually pretty shocking. It can sometimes be hard to know what is related to menopause and what is a cause of lifestyle changer or aging in general.

One easy way of knowing if you have reached menopause is that you have irregular menstruations, which happens because your ovaries are starting to reach the end of their active life. And also, that you experience symptoms. Remember that if you have irregular menstruation and are heading towards menopause it does not mean that you no longer are fertile. Only after menopause, when you haven’t had your period for 12 consecutive months, are your ovaries officially done with being able to produce a baby.

Every woman’s menopause journey is unique, that’s the beauty in it!

When does perimenopause start?

Generally speaking, women reach perimenopause in their forties up to start of their fifties. However, it is not unusual that women start to experience early symptoms of menopause in the middle or end of their thirties without understanding that is has to do with menopause.

When does perimenopause end?

Perimenopause usually lasts 5-10 years before menopause and ends when you no longer have had your period for 12 consecutive months. Up until then, some symptoms can usually become more intense, even though some women can actually experience that their symptoms ease as they get closer to menopause.

How do you know if you have entered menopause or not?

Unfortunately, there is no simple test to find out if you have reached menopause or not, no matter how wonderful that would be. There are tests that can help you identify if you are getting close to menopause, including a follicle-stimulating test and an anti-Müllerian hormone test. Even if some doctors find these tests to be a good indicator if you are starting to reach menopause of not, it can be difficult to gauge where you are in your journey due to hormonal fluctuations.

Due to the lack of a simple method to test if you have reached menopause, the most common and noticeable signs of you having reached menopause is changes in your menstrual cycle, and that you experience symptoms. But one does not exclude the other. It can also be helpful to take a blood test to measure your hormone levels if it feels important for you to know.

Remember – if you are taking birth control that suppresses your natural hormones, it may be impossible to know what your hormones are telling you.

 

This text is written by the menopause app Olivia. In the Olivia app you receive tips and advice on how you can easier handle menopause from start to finish. You can find more information about them at www.join-olivia.com.

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