Menopause vs Perimenopause: What's The Difference?

Menopause vs Perimenopause: What’s The Difference?

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Menopause and perimenopause are two separate terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing, and it’s important to be aware of the differences. 

Menopause is the point in a woman’s life when she has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, representing the point at which it is no longer possible to have children among other things. Perimenopause, on the other hand, is the period of time leading up to menopause, when the body starts to go through a range of different biological changes.


Perimenopause can last for several years, and while there’s no set time at which it will begin, it typically starts around the late 30s or early 40s. During this time, the body will go through a series of different physical changes as the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen. This hormonal shift tends to result in a variety of symptoms, including irregular periods, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping.


Menopause, on the other hand, is used to denote a specific point in time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 months consecutively. At this point, the ovaries will have stopped producing eggs, and the body produces very little estrogen compared to before. Menopause usually occurs roughly between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can occur earlier or later in some individuals.

While menopause is an inevitable, natural stage in a woman’s life, it can nonetheless be a very tricky period of transition for many people. In addition to the physical symptoms mentioned above, menopause can also lead to quite uncomfortable, unpredictable changes in a woman’s mood and emotions, as well as changes in her sexuality and sense of self.

Treatments available

Fortunately, there are a variety of different treatment options and subtle lifestyle changes that can often help to manage the symptoms experienced during both perimenopause and menopause. 

Medical options

Hormone replacement therapy, for example, can be used to at least partially replace the estrogen that the body is no longer producing for a period of time. Other treatments, such as antidepressants and ​​menopause supplements, can be used to manage bodily changes and depression, if a medical professional thinks that they may be beneficial.

Lifestyle changes

In addition to medical treatments, there are also a number of lifestyle changes that can help with symptom management. Regular exercise, for example, can help to manage the frequency of hot flushes and result in significant mood improvements. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can also help reduce the severity of a wide range of different symptoms.

By now, you’ve hopefully got a better understanding of the differences between menopause and perimenopause. Perimenopause is the period leading up to menopause, which can take several years and often results in a range of different symptoms. Menopause, on the other hand, is the specific point when a person has not had a period for one year. While both can be challenging transitions to go through, with the right approach, you can make sure that the experience is as pain-free as possible.

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