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Every woman goes through menopause and it happens when menstrual periods come to an end. The time period before the onset of menopause is called perimenopause, which occurs when women are in their 30s or 40s. In this article, we will discuss what causes perimenopause, its symptoms and how it is treated.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the first stage of menopause that starts 8 - 10 years before menopause. During this stage, a woman will experience some changes in the timing or heaviness in her periods because the ovaries will stop releasing eggs and they gradually begin to produce less oestrogen  .
Symptoms Of Perimenopause
• Hot flashes
• Sleep problems
• Mood changes
• Irregular periods
• Hot sweats and night sweats
• Vaginal and bladder problems
• Inability to conceive
• Changes in cholesterol levels
• Breast tenderness
Risk Factors Of Perimenopause
•Smoking - Women who smoke have perimenopause one to two years earlier than women who don't smoke.
•Cancer treatment- Chemotherapy or pelvic radiation therapy has been associated with perimenopause.
•Family history - Women with a family history of perimenopause are more likely to have early menopause.
Complications Of Perimenopause
• Bleeding starts between periods
• Bleeding exceeds more than 7 days
• Heavy bleeding
• Periods regularly occur less than 21 days apart
When To See A Doctor
If you experience severe, chronic stomach pain consult a doctor immediately. Also, if you have irregular periods that are heavier than usual you should consult a doctor.
Diagnosis Of Perimenopause
The doctor will ask your age, menstrual history and the symptoms you are experiencing. Doctors will recommend tests to check your hormone levels.
Treatment Of Perimenopause
•Antidepressants - Certain anti-depressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may lower menopausal hot flashes.
•Hormone therapy - Oestrogen therapy which comes in pill, gel, skin patch or cream is the most effective treatment option for reducing peri-menopausal symptoms.
•Vaginal oestrogen - A small amount of oestrogen is applied directly to the vagina using a vaginal tablet, ring or cream to relieve vaginal dryness.
-  Santoro N. (2016). Perimenopause: From Research to Practice. Journal of women's health (2002), 25(4), 332–339.