5 key differences between perimenopause and menopause

Monday was World Perimenopause Day, and while most of us have a pretty good idea of what menopause entails, the term perimenopause is not as widely known. Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the changes that takes in the body leading up to menopause. It often begins in the mid to late 40’s but can also start as early as 35-years-old. Perimenopause can look different from person to person, and can last anywhere from four to ten years! Some people don’t experience perimenopause and just go straight to menopause too. Below we have five key differences between menopause and perimenopause:

1. Menopause only occurs once you’ve had no period for 12 consecutive months. If you experience irregular periods with common perimenopause symptoms like lack of sex drive, hot flashes, night sweats and PMS-like mood swings then you’re still in the perimenopausal phase.

2. During perimenopause the ovaries slowly begin to release less estrogen, however during menopause there are no more eggs produced and the amount of estrogen the ovaries produce drops drastically.

3. Perimenopause can start as early as the mid to late 30’s, whereas menopause takes place between 40 to 50-years-old.

4. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, however fertility issues can occur. During menopause pregnancy can’t take place at all.

5. Although menopause and perimenopause have many of the same symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and lowered sex drive there are some symptoms which are unique to each of them. During perimenopause key symptoms are irregular periods, weight gain and breast tenderness, whereas with menopause key symptoms are vaginal dryness, dry skin or eyes, no more periods and frequent urination.