We’re often asked this seemingly simple question: What age does perimenopause start?
But, like so many questions related to your body’s hormones and endocrine system, the answer is not so clear.
What Is Perimenopause?
In order to answer the question of when, it’s important to understand what perimenopause is.
Perimenopause is the transitional period when estrogen production begins to fluctuate, then declines, and symptoms commonly associated with menopause begin to appear.
Any of the following symptoms may present as your body transitions toward the end of menstruation:
- Hot flashes
- Irritability and/or mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Worsening premenstrual syndrome and irregular periods
- Breast tenderness
- Urinary difficulties — urgency and some leakage
- Vaginal dryness
- Trouble sleeping
You may experience one or a combination of symptoms, and they’ll likely come and go as estrogen levels rise and fall erratically.
What Age Does Perimenopause Start? — Women Want a Number
Of course, this is what every women wants to know — whether there’s a specific age when you will be overcome by a sudden flood of life-changing symptoms.
That’s a very valid concern, but, luckily, it doesn’t usually work that way.
Keep in mind, perimenopause means “around menopause,” so it could usually be described as a slow, steady march toward the end of estrogen production that commonly presents as a very gradual onset of the menopausal symptoms we listed above.
So, to the question, “What age does perimenopause start?” we can only give a vague, imprecise answer.
What Age Does Perimenopause Start? — An Approximate Answer
Research gives us an estimated age range: Most women will begin experiencing perimenopausal symptoms in their early- to mid-forties.
You may experience symptoms of perimenopause at 40, but you may still not have experienced signs of perimenopause at 45 — it’s difficult to predict.
That said, it’s not all that unusual for women to enter perimenopause much earlier — late-, mid-, or even early-thirties.
There’s just no hard line or specific symptomatic occurrence where a woman’s body will announce it has decided to change — that’s the fluid nature of this transitional period.
How Long Does Perimenopause Last?
The rough estimate is 4 years, but, again, we’re talking about your body and its complicated system of hormones.
Some women experience symptoms extremely gradually, and it can be spread out over as many as 10 years.
Other women may only spend a short time in this transitional period — as little as 6 months.
When Does Perimenopause End?
Technically speaking, perimenopause is over when eggs are no longer released and menstruation ends.
More commonly, a woman is considered to have entered menopause when she has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
When women ask, “What age does perimenopause start?” we can say that, although we cannot be sure, there are lifestyle changes and hormonal therapy options to ease the symptoms that accompany fluctuation and loss of estrogen production.
Find Out More About Treatment for Perimenopause
There are some things you can do to get some relief for the more minor symptoms of early perimenopause, such as better diet and exercise, a recommendation we frequently make to begin correcting hormone imbalance.
However, if you begin a period of worsening or severe symptoms, you should seek professional medical assistance from your medical provider.
It may be that estrogen replacement therapy will be the best way for you to experience relief from the symptoms of perimenopause.
While there is no clear answer to the question, “What age does perimenopause start?” the fact that there is treatment to lessen the symptoms is good news.
Find out more about the treatment options for perimenopause by clicking the button below.