Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Perimenopause

2-minute read

Perimenopause means around menopause. It relates to the time leading up menopause, where you are getting some of the symptoms of menopause. For some women, that starts a year or two before menopause. But for others, changes start 10 years earlier, or even more.

Perimenopause takes place because most women’s ovaries don’t just stop working overnight. They gradually slow down over a period of years, producing fewer eggs and releasing less of the hormones than usual.

One of the common features of perimenopause is irregular periods. Your periods may come less often, or sometimes even more often. There may be less bleeding than usual, or there may be more. It can change from month to month.

Other features of menopause can appear, although usually in a mild way. So there might be some problems sleeping, some hot flushes, a slow decline in your sex drive, and some vaginal dryness.

You might find the symptoms ease if you:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • get some regular exercise
  • get enough sleep
  • cut back on tea, coffee and other drinks with caffeine
  • reduce stress where possible
  • use water-based lubricants during sex.

If you are concerned about any of these issues, talk to your doctor.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about perimenopause, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: September 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Menopause and Sleep

Many women report that it is more difficult to sleep well during the menopause.

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

Menopause what are the symptoms? - Australasian Menopause Society

Menopause occurs when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Menopause is a natural part of life occurring at around age 51 years but can also happen for other reasons

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Menopause - Complementary Therapies - Australasian Menopause Society

Dr. Anna Fenton discusses complementary treatment therapies for menopausal symptoms.

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Is Menopausal Hormone Therapy (HRT) safe? - Australasian Menopause Society

Professor Rod Baber discusses the safety of menopausal hormone therapy (HRT).

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Sex After Menopause | myVMC

Changes in sexual feelingsduring and after menopause are caused byhormonal and psychosocial changes, and can be permanent.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Sleep disturbances in menopause | myVMC

Women are more likely to experience sleep disturbances in the menopausal period than at other times of life. Poor quality sleep is a common complaint amongst menopausal women, of whom 2550% report sleep difficulties, compared to some 15% of the general population.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Menopause resources | Family Planning NSW

This page contains a list of the various patient information sheets on menopause available from The Australasian Menopause Society a link to access them.

Read more on Family Planning NSW website

Menopause - Non-hormonal Treatment Options - Australasian Menopause Society

Dr Anna Fenton discusses a variety of non-hormonal treatment options for menopausal symptoms.

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Menopause - How will it affect my health? - Australasian Menopause Society

Professor Susan Davis explains how the onset of menopause may affect one's health.

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Menopause - Will it affect my sex life? - Australasian Menopause Society

Professor Susan Davis discusses how the onset of menopause may affect your sex life, as well as various treatment options.

Read more on Australasian Menopause Society website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo