Meno Active - What is the difference between Perimenopause and The Menopause?

The difference between perimenopause and the menopause often causes confusion. Perimenopause takes place when a woman’s menstrual cycle becomes irregular but does not stop entirely. The menopause begins once a woman hasn’t had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. Read on to find out more about these two distinct and important stages of a woman’s life.

Perimenopause


Perimenopause is the phase before the menopause begins and signals the start of a woman’s biological transition. The perimenopause usually happens to women in their forties, although it can occur earlier. During this phase, a woman’s ovaries begin to wind down and she will first experience the consequences of hormonal shifts as her oestrogen levels start to fluctuate randomly. A woman can also encounter some initial signs of menopausal like night sweats and increased anxiety. Her menstrual cycle can also become irregular during the perimenopause, however it will not come to an end during this phase.


Menopause


Menopause occurs once a woman hasn’t had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. This usually happens to women in their late forties and early fifties. During the menopausal stage, a woman’s ovaries become less responsive to hormonal signals and stop producing oestrogen. As ovulation ceases, a women’s progesterone levels also diminish. A decline in both oestrogen and progesterone levels lead to many unwelcome physical and psychological features of the menopause which include:


• difficulty sleeping, insomnia or fatigue
• hot flushes during the day and night
• low mood, depression or changes in mood
• nervousness, worry or anxiety
• reduced ability to concentrate or focus
• problems with memory recall
• migraines or headaches
• aches and pains
• irregular and/or heavy periods and
• urinary issues (e.g. increased frequency).

Menopause

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