Pre-menopause and Menopause: what is the difference?
A woman's life is marked by milestones (and many milestones!) and the period leading up to menopause, called pre-menopause (or perimenopause) is one of them. Pre-menopause and menopause are natural transitional phases that occur in the life of a woman or person with ovaries. Together, we will understand the differences between these two stages (unfortunately still too taboo) in order to help you understand these hormonal changes.
Pre-menopause: what are we talking about?
Pre-menopause is the phase before menopause . And yes, you thought there was only menopause? Surprise ! It usually occurs around age 40, but may start earlier in some women.
During perimenopause, the ovaries begin to produce fewer hormones , especially estrogen . This leads to fluctuations in hormone levels which cause certain symptoms and changes in a person's body.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
Pre-menopause is often accompanied by symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes : Sudden and intense feelings of heat that spread through the body, often accompanied by excessive sweating. (concerned? Discover our natural solutions to soothe hot flashes )
- Sleep disorders : difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, as well as restless nights.
- Mood swings : Frequent changes in mood, ranging from irritability to mild depression.
- Irregular periods : variations in the menstrual cycle, with longer, shorter, lighter or heavier bleeding.
- A decrease in libido : a decrease in sexual interest or fluctuations in libido (our article on How to boost libido may interest you)
It is important to note that each woman can experience pre-menopause differently. Some people may experience all of these symptoms, while others experience only a few or none (lucky ones!).
Menopause: explanations and symptoms
Menopause marks the end of a person's reproductive period . It occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs and menstruation ceases permanently. Menopause is confirmed when a person has not had their period for 12 consecutive months .
Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is associated with several symptoms which, we repeat because everyone is unique, can vary from person to person. Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes : sudden and intense feelings of heat, similar to those of pre-menopause.
- Sleep disorders : persistent sleep problems, such as insomnia or night sweats
- Vaginal dryness : a decrease in vaginal lubrication , which can lead to uncomfortable sexual intercourse.
- Mood swings : more frequent mood swings, often related to hormonal fluctuations.
- Memory problems : difficulty concentrating and remembering, often called "brain fog".
- Changes in the skin and hair : decreased skin elasticity, more pronounced wrinkles and thinner hair, even hair loss .
Differences between premenopause and menopause: the recap
Pre-menopause is a period of transition around 40 , where hormonal fluctuations can cause various symptoms: mood swings, hot flashes, irregular periods, low libido, etc.
Menopause, on the other hand, arrives on average at the age of 50 and marks the end of the reproductive period . It also causes other specific symptoms: intimate dryness, cessation of menstruation, damaged hair and skin, among others.
It is important to consult a medical professional to understand, discuss the symptoms and the solutions available . At Gapianne, we will always advise you to opt for natural solutions, without risk to health , unlike certain intense treatments prescribed to reduce the effects of menopause. Natural options are always a better idea in order to preserve your health.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How are periods during pre-menopause?
Periods during pre-menopause can be irregular. Some women may have longer, shorter, lighter, or heavier periods . Menstrual cycles may also be further apart. If you want peace of mind, we advise you to opt for period panties that are pleasant and discreet to wear to prevent unpleasant surprises.
How long does pre-menopause last?
The length of peri-menopause can vary from woman to woman, but in general, peri-menopause can last anywhere from a few years to 10 years . It can start in the forties, but in some women, it can start earlier (this is called premature menopause).
How long does menopause last?
The length of menopause itself can vary, but on average, it lasts about 4 to 5 years . The average age of menopause is 50 years old . Menopause is considered reached when a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months. After reaching menopause, periods will not return.
How do you know if you are in pre-menopause or menopause?
It can be difficult to determine exactly whether you are in pre-menopause or menopause without consulting a healthcare professional. However, there are signs and symptoms that may indicate that you are in pre-menopause such as the ones we covered above: irregular periods, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, mood swings and symptoms related to hormonal changes.
Can you get pregnant during pre-menopause?
Yes, it is possible to get pregnant during pre-menopause. Although fertility declines as peri-menopause progresses due to hormonal fluctuations and irregular menstrual cycles, there is always the possibility of pregnancy . It is important to continue using birth control methods if you do not wish to become pregnant during this time.