Up to a few years ago, I had no idea there was such a thing as PeriMenopause or PostMenopause. For me there was just Menopause. Full stop. And when the Menopause I knew would come, my period would stop so I no longer would be able to conceive, hot flashes/flushes would be an unpleasant side effect as much as some sleeping problems and low estrogen issues like aging and bone loss.
That was pretty much it my knowledge of Menopause.
So, when I started experiencing some Menopause symptoms (my period became irregular and suddenly I started having some sleeping issues) around my mid 30s I went to my gynaecologist and asked him whether or not those symptoms were related to the fact that Menopause was coming. Back then I have read that when Menopause was approaching our period would become “funny”. He assured me that was not the case, that periods were not a perfectly timed thing (except that mine used to be) and Menopause was far far away from my reality. No mentions to PeriMenopause whatsoever.
And that is how I went through my whole PeriMenopause phase (from my mid 30s through my early 40s): totally unaware I was on it. I just heard of it when I was entering Menopause and had almost everything undercontrol (or on my way to it).
Anyways, since PeriMenopause is a reality and can present a lot of symptoms that can make your life a little hell-ish and you were only expecting them when Menopause arrives, I believe every women should know about it even before going through it. Otherwise you get lost and people (aka doctors) who are supposed to put you back on the right track, for some reason just don’t help you at all. So, at least being aware of it can help you to get help from a doctor who actually knows about it and can help you through it. So here it is an introduction of what PeriMenopause, Menopause and PostMenopause are, because all of them matters:
PeriMenopause is the transitional phase through Menopause. It’s when you can present lots of symptoms related to Menopause like hot flashes/flushes, sleeping disorders, mood swings, low energy, brain fog, memory loss and others, even not being at Menopause officially. You still menstruate but your period can get funny, irregular, heavy, moody, insane in many other ways. It can last up to 8 to 10 years, more or less. PeriMenopause can hit you (pretty bad) around your 30s or 40s. Yep, that early. Here your estrogen levels start to fluctuate insanely and begin to drop.
Menopause officially happens when your menstruation stops and that lasts for a year for those who are over 50 and two years for those who are under 50 years old. Your estrogen levels drop significantly.
Having said that: because in PeriMenopause your period gets funny (meaning it can be late or early and you can menstruate for weeks or skip your period for months), you can go without your period for as long as almost a year and then, boom, it could come back. So, although you were a few months menstruation free, if it comes back before a year if you are over 50 and before two years if you are under 50 it means that you were not at Menopause but in PeriMenopause, still.
PostMenopause is the after Menopause phase when you have no more periods for more than one year or two, depending whether or not you are over or under 50. Your estrogen levels are pretty low. And this phase will last till you die.
And that is it. Now you know. 😉🌸