Having Hot Flashes? You May Be Perimenopausal (Video)

Symptoms can occur for up to 10 years before menopause

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By: Holly L. Thacker, MD

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Many women who are in their 40s wonder whether they are in perimenopause. Chances are good that they are if they are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats or irregular menstrual periods.

Perimenopause marks the time when you are making the transition to menopause. Menopause has a definite start time – it’s official when you haven’t had a menstrual period for a year. But perimenopause is somewhat less definite.

Perimenopause happens when your ovaries produce less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This generally happens up to 10 years before menopause. For most women, this means between the years between age 40 and age 50.

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The tell-tale, classic symptoms of perimenopause are the most bothersome ones associated with menopause:  hot flashes and night sweats. Most women also experience irregular menstrual periods.

Your doctor can help determine whether you are perimenopausal through a physical exam and a review of your medical history and symptoms.

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More information

Guide to managing menopause

Speaking of Women's Health

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