Understanding the Transition From Perimenopause to Menopause

Feb 01, 2024

You won’t know you’ve moved from perimenopause into menopause for 12 months. Learn why this transition takes so long as well as the variety of options available to help you manage the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

Despite the fact that every woman who lives to a certain age will experience it, menopause is often misunderstood. Some women think that on a specific day, they’ll wake up and be in menopause.

To an extent, that’s true. But the transition from perimenopause — the period before you medically enter menopause — and menopause itself is a lot slower than many women realize. 

At Burlington OBGYN Associates, we want to help women know what to expect in this important season of life. As menopause management specialists, we have extensive experience helping women navigate the changes they experience as they move from perimenopause to menopause. 

In fact, if you have any questions at all about this major transition, our all-female team of doctors and nurse practitioners can help. Schedule a visit at our Burlington, Massachusetts, office to get the answers and guidance you need, along with treatment to ease the sometimes unpleasant symptoms that accompany this change. 

To help you better understand when a woman officially leaves perimenopause and transitions into menopause, it’s first helpful to look at perimenopause itself. So we’ll start there.

Perimenopause 101

Also called premenopause, perimenopause is a blanket term used to describe all of the changes women experience as they near the end of their reproductive years. Most women start noticing these bodily adjustments in their 40s, although some women enter perimenopause as early as their mid-30s. 

During perimenopause, your estrogen levels fluctuate more than they have before. You might notice resulting symptoms like:

  • A shorter or longer menstrual cycle
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep issues
  • Mood changes
  • Reduced sex drive

Most women spend a few years in perimenopause, although this period can be as short as a few months or as long as a decade. 

From perimenopause to menopause

You don’t simply get a menopause diagnosis one day. Instead, menopause is the medical term used to describe the life phase that begins 12 months after your last menstrual period.

You might go months without a period and think you’re in menopause. But once you bleed again, the clock resets. You don’t officially reach menopause until you’ve gone a full year without a period. 

This makes the transition from perimenopause to menopause particularly hazy. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit idly by as unwelcome symptoms creep into your life. Our Burlington OBGYN team offers a variety of options to manage the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, including:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Topical estrogen creams
  • Lubricant gels
  • Antidepressants
  • Nutritional guidance for a healthy diet
  • Tips for getting regular exercise
  • Stress management

We tailor your menopause management plan to you, and you don’t have to wait until you’ve had a year without periods before you take action. You can start all of these treatments — including HRT — in perimenopause. If you’re experiencing unwelcome changes, talk to our team. 

To explore your options to treat unwelcome symptoms so you enjoy a better quality of life through perimenopause, menopause, and beyond, call Burlington OBGYN Associates or book an appointment online today.