PerimenopausePerimenopause occurs when a woman stops having a monthly period. It is the predecessor and transitional period into menopause. Perimenopause can last from a few month to 10 years, but on average, a woman will experience perimenopause about four years prior to menopause.
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Perimenopause occurs before menopause, when a woman stops having a monthly period. Menopause usually occurs in the late 40s or early 50s and means the end of a woman's reproductive years, and perimenopause begins eight to 10 years before then. In the last one or two years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen speeds up, and women experience menopause symptoms while still having a period.
Perimenopause lasts for four years on average but sometimes only a few months. Once a woman has completed 12 months in a row without a period, perimenopause has transitioned into menopause. Perimenopause is a natural part of the aging process, although some medications, cancer treatments and ovary surgery can speed up the process or cause menopause sooner.
Perimenopause occurs during the 40s for most women, but some notice changes as early as their mid-30s. As estrogen hormones rise and fall, periods grow longer or shorter and women experience menopause-like symptoms.
Several factors may cause perimenopause to start at an earlier age. Women who smoke may start menopause one or two years earlier. In addition, women who have family members with early menopause, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be at a higher risk.