How long does perimenopause last
The transition to menopause doesn’t just happen overnight. In fact, for many this journey can last a few months & years or in some cases a decade. This stage is called perimenopause and in this blog, we’ll delve into the world of perimenopause and shed light on how long this phase can last.
What is perimenopause?
Sometimes referred to as the menopausal transition, this phase encompasses the time when a person’s body starts to undergo hormonal changes that ultimately lead to menopause. During this time, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, fluctuate and gradually decline. These hormonal fluctuations can cause plenty of physical and emotional symptoms, such as irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Make sure you check out our other blog for further details on perimenopause symptoms.
How long does perimenopause last?
This is the tricky question, the duration of perimenopause varies amongst people and can span anywhere from a few months to several years. On “average”, perimenopause lasts around four to eight years, however it’s so important to note that this is just an estimate, and your individual experience will differ. Some people may go through a relatively short transition and barely even notice any changes, while others may experience perimenopausal symptoms for a more extended period.
Why does perimenopause duration differ?
There’s a few factors that can influence the duration of perimenopause including:
- Genetics - yep, sometimes you are just born this way. Family history can play a role in determining the length of perimenopause. You may find if your mother or sister experiences shorter or longer transitions, then you may follow suit. However, according to studies there’s no consistent association between pubertal onset and age at menopause. So, if you started your period “early” or “late” (remember, we’re all different!) This won’t make a difference when you begin transitioning into perimenopause.
- Lifestyle & overall health: anyone who leads a healthy lifestyle, maintains a balanced diet, exercises regularly and manages stress levels effectively may experience a shorter or “easier” perimenopausal phase.
- Surgical interventions: people who have undergone surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) may experience an abrupt onset of menopause without a typical perimenopausal phase.
- Use of hormonal contraception: because hormonal contraception artificially regulates hormone levels, some people are not aware when they enter this transition phase.
How to manage perimenopause symptoms
Whilst the duration of perimenopause may be uncertain, there are ways to manage the symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing during this transitional phase:
- Stay informed: knowledge is power, so educate yourself about the perimenopause and its symptoms. Having a better understanding of what is happening to your body can help alleviate anxiety and allow you to make informed decisions.
- Track your flow: you may find you start to experience irregular periods during the perimenopause, so ensure you're tracking when you're bleeding and not. It may even be a good time to swap to reusable period care, our reusable pants are ideal for anyone who has irregular periods.
- Seek medical guidance: work together with your healthcare provider and discuss your symptoms, concerns and possible available treatment options. They can recommend lifestyle modifications, hormone therapy or other interventions based on your individual needs.
- Practice self-care: by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, like regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management techniques and sufficient sleep, you can help alleviate symptoms and take ownership of your wellbeing.
- Lean on your support system: remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Surround yourself with understanding and supportive individuals, like friends, family or support groups, who can provide a safe space for discussing your experiences and concerns.
The perimenopause journey is unique for everyone, and its duration, symptoms and intensity can vary significantly. Whilst the “average” timeframe is around four to eight years, chances are your individual experience will differ from the next person. By taking the time to understand the factors that can influence perimenopause duration and adopting strategies to manage symptoms, you can navigate this transformative phase with confidence and ease.
Always remember: you’re not alone on this journey.
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