Peri-menopause vs. Menopause

By MedStudio Staff

Overview: This article describes the difference between perimenopause and menopause.

Common Symptoms of Menopause

The most common symptoms of menopause indicating its onset often present themselves in ways that may not immediately call that condition to mind. It is important to pay careful attention to the body when one experiences any of these signs of symptoms.

Women report hundreds of symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause. Here are the 22 most commonly reported symptoms of menopause:

  1. Hot flashes
  2. Night sweats
  3. Dry skin
  4. Vaginal dryness and/or painful sex
  5. Chronic fatigue
  6. Restless legs
  7. Hair loss
  8. Sleep issues
  9. Depression or loss of joy
  10. Irritability
  11. Anxiety or nervousness
  12. Mood swings
  13. Migraine headaches
  14. Palpitations
  15. Fatigue
  16. Weight control issues
  17. Low sex drive
  18. Poor focus
  19. Memory lapses
  20. Decreased exercise tolerance
  21. Loss of muscle tone
  22. Body and joint pain

Stages of Menopause

Menopause is a normal part of life, just like puberty. Many women may notice changes in their bodies before and after menopause. The transition usually has three parts:

  1. Perimenopause
  2. Menopause
  3. Post-Menopause

Changes usually begin with perimenopause. This can begin several years before a woman’s last menstrual period. Menopause comes next, the end of the menstrual periods. After a full year without a period, menopause is over. Post-menopause follows menopause and lasts for the rest of a woman’s life. The average age for the last period is 51. Some women, however, have the last period in their forties, and some have it later in their fifties (1). For many women, this process is a smooth transition and goes unnoticed with no symptoms, but for others this seemingly normal part of life is not normal for them at all.

Premature Menopause

Be reassured that barring an underlying medical condition that sets off premature menopause, the age when perimenopause begins is simply individual to your own body. The symptoms of menopause during this time vary for every woman.

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  1. National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Aging, “Menopause.” http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause.