Menopause 200 x 200

We know menopause as a time of hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood changes. But you’re experiencing some of this now and you’re not in your 50’s. It can’t be menopause, right?

Medically speaking, it’s not menopause yet. When most women talk about “going through menopause” they’re describing the experience of perimenopause. Menopause is when the ovaries have ceased to function, and you’ve gone a year without a period. Perimenopause is when a woman’s body changes before menstruation ends and can last for up to 10 years.

Perimenopause typically begins in your 40’s but some women begin to experience symptoms in their late 30’s. Factors that can cause perimenopause to begin earlier include smoking, having cancer treatment with chemotherapy or radiation or undergoing a hysterectomy. There can also be a family history of early perimenopause.

During perimenopause, the levels of estrogen in your body rise and fall unevenly, causing symptoms that can be unpredictable. You might experience on and off hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes and trouble sleeping through the night. Your periods may be shorter, longer, lighter or heavier and there could be more or fewer days between periods.

The change in your menstrual cycle during perimenopause may also cause heavier bleeding. You should see your doctor if you’re experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding and long intervals of spotting.

The hormonal roller coaster ride of perimenopause can also put a woman at-risk for unintended pregnancy. Your periods may be off-schedule, but most women still ovulate through their mid-40s, so be sure to continue using your preferred method of family planning.

If you have questions about changes you’re experiencing that could be signs of perimenopause, please request an appointment online with us or call our Southgate or Brownstown offices.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax