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Perimenopause

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: July 2015

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