What is the difference between premenopause and perimenopause?

Dr. Niloufer Kero, MD
Gynecology
Premenopause is when there are no symptoms of menopause; perimenopause involves signs like hot flashes and irregular periods. Niloufer Kero, MD from Oak Hill Hospital, shares more in this video.
Afua Mintah, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
These terms are used interchangeably to describe the time frame and symptomatology leading up to menopause. Premenopause, or perimenopause may start as early as age 40. The average age of menopause is 51. Symptoms of premenopause or perimenopause before the age of 40 should be evaluated by a doctor.

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Brandon E. Riggan, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Premenopause as a term should refer to a woman before menopause has occurred, meaning a woman still having menstrual cycles whether they are regular or irregular. Perimenopause should refer to a woman who has begun to have menstrual irregularities due to changes in hormones, eventually leading to menopause. Technically speaking, all perimenopausal women are premenopausal but not all premenopausal women are perimenopausal.
Premenopause is before menopause and perimenopause is around menopause. In general, premenopause is before any menopausal symptoms begin: a normally menstruating female. Perimenopause describes a time in the female’s life that some of the symptoms of menopause present while there still may be menses occurring. During this time women may experience hot flushes, fatigue, irritability and change in libido. At least 50% of women have no symptoms prior to menopause. Most of the women who do have symptoms, those symptoms will disappear during the five years after menses cease.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Premenopause is just what it sounds like, the time in a woman's reproductive life before she goes into menopause. It takes an average of four years for the levels of estrogen produced by the ovaries to get low enough for periods to stop completely. Twelve months after the last period, a women is considered postmenopausal.

Continue Learning about Menopause

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Menopause

If you are a woman in your 40s and 50s, you might notice that your periods start to change as menopause approaches. During menopause, the menstrual cycle becomes less predictable, and many women start to experience uncomfortable s...

ymptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and/or changes in mood.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.