What is perimenopause
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  • 15.07.22

What is perimenopause and how do I treat the symptoms?

A chat with Specialist Women’s Health GP, Dr Elise Turner.

Menopause – it gets all the headlines, but it’s time to shed some light on its opening act, perimenopause. 

At Grace, we see and treat many women experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, so we thought it would be helpful to have a chat with our Specialist Women’s Health GP, Dr Elise Turner, to get the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. 

What is perimenopause? 

It’s different for every woman, but menopause normally occurs between 45 and 55 years old. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years for your menstrual cycle to stop completely. 

Perimenopause is what happens in the lead up to menopause, your final menstrual cycle, and causes symptoms which are very similar to menopause

When does perimenopause start? 

For some women, perimenopause can start a couple of years before menopause. For others, symptoms can start up to 10 years before they go through menopause. 

It’s common for women to start perimenopause in their 40s, however you may notice signs in your 30s, or in very rare cases sometimes even in your 20s.

What happens during perimenopause? What are the symptoms? 

During perimenopause eggs start to reduce in your ovaries. This causes fluctuations of oestrogen and progesterone hormones which may trigger certain changes in your body.

Some of the main symptoms of perimenopause are: 

  • irregular periods
  • heavier or lighter periods than normal
  • breast tenderness
  • weight gain
  • hot flushes
  • problems sleeping
  • worse PMS
  • headaches
  • loss of sex drive
  • difficulty concentrating
  • vaginal dryness
  • muscle aches
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • heart palpitations

Can I fall pregnant if I’m in perimenopause? 

During perimenopause you may experience changes in your menstrual cycle and it may be harder to track your cycle, but you can still fall pregnant. Unless you’ve had one year without a period, you may still be able to conceive. 

A woman’s fertility will start to reduce after the age of 30. If you’ve been trying to fall pregnant for more than 12 months, or six months if you’re over 35 years of age, it’s time to seek advice and our Grace Specialist Women’s Health GPs and Fertility Specialists are a great place to start. 

How to treat perimenopause

How do you treat the symptoms of perimenopause?

Perimenopause is a natural stage of life for women, but there’s no need to suffer through the symptoms, there are many things you can do to manage the symptoms of perimenopause, including: 

  • Lifestyle changes – Eating healthy food, staying fit and active, practising self-care and avoiding smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. 
  • Hormone therapy – Some women with more serious perimenopausal symptoms may consider hormone therapy such as MHT (formally known as hormone replacement therapy, HRT). 
  • Contraceptive pill – The contraceptive pill may reduce perimenopausal symptoms for some women. 

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and treatment needs to be tailored to the individual woman and her specific symptoms, it’s important to know that there are options you can discuss with your doctor. 

Our Grace Specialist Women’s Health GPs can help you understand the changes happening in your body and can recommend the best perimenopausal treatment to suit your individual needs. No referral needed, you can book an appointment to see one of our Specialist Women’s Health GPs at Grace Private, The Brickworks, Ferry Road, Southport, via graceprivate.com.au


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