Overview of perimenopause

Perimenopause is the period of time leading up to menopause. During this time, a woman’s hormone levels change and she may experience hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and irregular menstrual periods. Perimenopause typically begins in a woman’s 40s and lasts four to 10 years.

If you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, our women’s health team at Dignity Health can help you find relief. Find a Doctor near you to get started in learning more about perimenopause in AZ, CA, and NV.

Symptoms of perimenopause

The symptoms of perimenopause vary from woman to woman. You may experience perimenopause symptoms such as:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty sleeping, including frequent waking or inability to fall asleep
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication
  • Urinary incontinence
  • More frequent urinary or vaginal infections
  • Mood swings

Some women have almost no symptoms. Others experience uncomfortable symptoms that interfere with their enjoyment of life. The symptoms you personally experience may change as you progress through perimenopause.

Causes of perimenopause

When you are in your childbearing years, estrogen and progesterone hormone levels rise and fall in a predictable pattern each month to enable conception and pregnancy. As you approach your 40s and 50s, these hormone levels begin a gradual, unpredictable decline. Many of the symptoms women experience during perimenopause are due to a drop in estrogen levels.