What is perimenopause and how to manage it

Understanding perimenopause and how to manage it effectively.

To better understand perimenopause and what it means for you, it’s helpful to explore the symptoms you may experience and the strategies for successfully managing this natural but often challenging phase of a woman's life.

What is perimenopause?

Peri-menopause (or ‘around’ menopause) is a significant transitional stage of life that commences with the onset of irregular periods and concludes when 12 consecutive months have passed since your last period, at which point menopause is reached. 

The perimenopause stage typically begins in your early to mid-40s and ends at around age 51, though the length of time spent in perimenopause will vary from woman to woman. It’s also commonly accompanied by a range of physical and emotional symptoms

What’s going on with your body?

Biologically, perimenopause represents the natural winding-down of a woman’s reproductive cycle. 

During this time, your levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone will fluctuate (often significantly) as the ovaries begin to slow down before they eventually stop producing eggs altogether. 

With progesterone and estrogen controlling your monthly cycle, these shifting hormone levels commonly result in menstrual periods that vary in length, flow and duration.  

As with puberty in your younger years, this hormonal transition is not without its challenges. 

Many women find their bodies, once so familiar, feel unrecognisable as they start behaving and reacting differently. You may feel the effects mentally and emotionally as well, with hormonal changes and the associated symptoms impacting your mood and your daily life, work and relationships.


What are the symptoms of perimenopause? 

The list of symptoms is long, and while everyone’s experience is different, the symptoms commonly encountered by perimenopausal women include hot flushes (or flashes), night sweats, sleep disruptions, mood swings, anxiety and depression, and fatigue. 

You may also experience weight gain, libido changes, body aches and joint pain, breast tenderness, hair loss, a need to pee more often, heavy sweating, difficulty concentrating and brain fog. Learn more about symptoms in our factsheet here.

Navigating this new reality can be confusing - and confronting at times. However, these symptoms are a normal part of the perimenopausal experience. 

How can I be sure it’s perimenopause?

With hormone levels fluctuating day to day, perimenopause can be difficult to test for and diagnose. It can feel like a guessing game deciphering whether symptoms are related to perimenopause or not.

Tracking your period and potential symptoms can be helpful, as can finding a qualified and compassionate doctor who can support you through this time and discuss management options. 

If symptoms are impacting your overall health or disrupting your daily life, it’s important to explore these more thoroughly with your GP. 

When does perimenopause end?

Once 12 months have passed since your last period, you officially enter menopause. At this stage, your ovaries have stopped producing hormones and are no longer releasing eggs.


What options are available for managing perimenopause?

We are fortunate to live in a time when trusted evidenced-based information is readily available, allowing you to take charge of your own health and navigate this period with your eyes wide open. 

Developing an understanding of the hormonal changes your body is going through, exploring the broad range of medical and non-medical treatment options on offer, and having the language to speak about what you’re experiencing to those around you, can be life changing.

In fact, with the right support many women find this time of life deeply empowering as they reconnect with their bodies and take proactive steps to improve their physical and mental health – whether through lifestyle changes, nutritional modifications, dietary supplements, stress reduction techniques, or medical therapies. 

With an estimated 47 million women entering menopause each year, accessing the support available and finding out what works for you is undoubtedly the best way to deal with this natural mid-life transition. 


Explore our range of symptom-specific supplementsdeveloped to support your body and your needs before, during and after this transitionary life stage.


This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.

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