Something we get asked ALOT is:

What is the difference between Perimenopause and Menopause??

Let's dig in!

Menopause is a common term most women have heard as the time in our lives when our periods are no more, but what happens in the lead-up to menopause?

Those transition years leading up to Menopause is called Perimenopause and can last anywhere between  2 - 12 years.

A good way to remember it is:

  • Perimenopause is a period of time as you transition to Menopause
  • Menopause is a point in time (12 months of no periods = you reaching menopause).

If you're in perimenopause, you may be experiencing one, some or all of the following symptoms:

Perimenopause has 4 stages. Read more about the stages here

There is no blood test that can tell if you are perimenopausal. Your health professional would take into consideration your age and symptoms.

Menopause starts when you have not had a period for one year (or 12 consecutive months).

The average age to reach menopause is 51 years. You can get a blood test to confirm you are in menopause. If your FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels are consistently elevated to 30 mIU/mL or higher, and you haven’t had a menstrual period for a year, it is generally accepted that you have reached menopause.

Perimenopause symptoms can linger for the first year of menopause (especially hot flashes and sleep disturbances) but once your body starts to get used to low oestrogen levels everything starts to even out. 

Menopause for some can create a sense of freedom, no more monthly cycles or the wildly fluctuating hormones of perimenopause. Some see it as the calm after the storm.

Menopause is a time where you have accumulated many years now of wisdom and experience (yes you!) but along with that can go with a sense of grief around the loss of youth.

Many women report increased energy levels and experiencing a new lease on life.

The technical term for this is the “I don’t give a f**k" phase (teehee).

Menopausal symptoms you might experience are:

  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Stress incontinence
  • Bladder infections
  • Low libido
  • Pelvic Floor Problems
  • Prolapse
  • Hair Loss
  • Facial Hair
  • Weight Gain
  • Risk of osteoporosis and heart disease
  • Memory problems.

As longevity has increased and the average age expectancy has increased to 80. Women live in menopause on average for 3 decades. Making menopause the springtime of the second half of life.

In your early perimenopause years diet, exercise and supplements might be all you need to support symptoms.

When you move into your final peri years and then into menopause some women might find that bio-identical hormone therapy might be needed to manage symptoms until things even out. It is important to remember here that no one size fits all.

Always do what works for you.

Got questions? Hit us up in the comments below - you know we love it.

February 18, 2022 — Angela Greely


SheBang Woman said:

Hi Natalie, I would keep a symptom diary. You might start to see a pattern and figure out when you would have been bleeding. Other markers are age, average age to reach menopause is 51 and peri can last 2 – 12 years and on average is between 4-6 years. I would suggest discussing with your health professional. Ange x

Natalie said:

I had an endometrial ablation which resulted in no periods (yay!) but still had other period like symptoms eg breast tenderness, mood changes so defining perimenopause as the absence of periods for me is confusing. Are there other indicators to tell what stage I’m at?

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