What is premenopause?

Premenopause generally refers to the time in a woman's life just before her periods end. This phase is marked by changing hormone levels, and menstrual periods often become irregular. Symptoms may include mood changes, irritability, and hot flashes.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
First, let's be clear about what menopause means. Although it is used casually to describe the transition a woman undergoes as her child-bearing years end, menopause actually has a more specific meaning. It refers to the point in time when a woman has stopped having periods for a full year. Premenopause is a term some doctors use to describe the phase before a woman reaches menopause, during which her ovaries gradually stop functioning, her periods usually become irregular, and she may experience symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Another term, perimenopause, is also used to describe this prelude to complete menopause.
Premenopause is another way of saying perimenopause. This period usually occurs about six years before menopause and concludes once menstrual periods have stopped for 12 consecutive months.

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