What is Perimenopause
The First Stage of Your Menopause Journey
Women not only want to know about their symptoms, they also want to understand what is going on. So here is some background information about this first stage of menopause.
“What is perimenopause” will help you understand:
- The reason for your symptoms.
- What is going on in your body when you start perimenopause
Perimenopause is the time before your periods stop permanently. As soon as you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months, you are considered to be in post menopause.
Perimenopause is divided into two phases: Early and late peri-menopause.
Each phase has distinct symptoms but the transition through the phases happens gradually (although the transition can be rather turbulent – so fasten your seat belts).
But What is Perimenopause Exactly?
There are many things that are changing in your body when you begin the perimenopause transition and all are related to the activity of your ovaries and your hormone levels.
To answer the question: What is perimenopause, we have to look at the following hormones:
- FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)
- LH (luteinizing hormone)
The menstrual cycle is regulated by a carefully orchestrated series of events in the reproductive organs and the brain. This regulation process starts in the pituitary gland which is located deep in the brain.
The pituitary gland releases the hormones FSH and LH. These two hormones in turn stimulate the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries.
When the ovaries begin to slow down this series of events gets disrupted and the estrogen and progesterone production is no longer in sync. This in turn causes the following imbalances:
- In the amounts of estrogen and progesterone
- In the ratio of estrogen and progesterone to each other
- In the body functions that are influenced by these hormones
Any one of these irregularities can cause symptoms of perimenopause. This also explains why you may or may not experience specific symptoms.
But as it is with so many things in the human body there are numerous systems involved. Perimenopause indicates changes in the function and activity of the ovaries, but this process is not an orderly slow down.
Especially during the early phase of the menopause transition, irregular cycles are followed by several normal cycles. But the irregularities will eventually become more noticeable, as the ovaries have to work harder and harder to stay active.
As we have already said, researchers divide perimenopause into two different phases – early and late perimenopause. Each of these phases has specific symptoms associated with it.
However, it is not as if the transition from the early to the late phase causes an abrupt change in your symptoms – This is all a very gradual transition. But this does not mean that the process itself is smooth.
It is kind like an airplane ride, sometimes the pilot puts the “fasten seatbelt” sign on when the plane goes through areas of turbulence. Some flights are mostly smooth, others have frequent and severe turbulence.
You now understand that the question:”what is perimenopause?” can be answered quickly. It is defined as the time before your periods stop permanently.
This indicates that the ovaries are no longer releasing eggs which in turn influences the production of estrogen and progesterone.
If you would read a medical article about perimenopause, you would see that this is much more complex than what we are describing here. But we just wanted to give you a basic understanding about what is happening when you go through the menopause transition.
A natural perimenopause transition is certainly the preferred way and there are many natural treatments that can help you with this goal.
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