Menopause is the phase of life when a woman has no more menstrual periods.
One full year without a period is the milestone of menopause. This usually occurs between ages 48 and 55, with most women reaching menopause at age 51. Women who smoke, have never been pregnant, or live at high altitudes may enter menopause sooner.
Perimenopause is the transition time between predictable menstruation and menopause. This transition can take three to ten years. In perimenopause, women can experience menopause symptoms while still having regular periods.
The most common symptoms women experience that indicate they're entering perimenopause are irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats and loss of libido.
Annual well woman exams are important to investigate early symptoms, just in case the cause is something other than perimenopause.
Listen in as Dr. Diana Bitner explains what to expect from perimenopause and when to expect it.