What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the time during which a woman’s body starts the natural transition into menopause, which indicates the end of the reproductive years. Women can start perimenopause at different ages, with some noticing changes as early as their mid-30s. The level of the female hormone estrogen will rise and fall unevenly during perimenopause, which can cause your menstrual cycles to shorten or lengthen, and become irregular. During the last couple of years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen speeds up, which can lead to various symptoms. The average length of this transition is about four years, but it may vary from person to person. Once a woman has experienced 12 consecutive months without a period, she has reached menopause.

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Common signs and symptoms of perimenopause are:

  • Hot flashes.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Fatigue.
  • Low libido.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Mood swings.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • And more.

While irregular periods are a normal symptom of perimenopause, there are other conditions that may cause changes in your period. If you experience very heavy periods with blood clots, have periods that last much longer than they usually do, or have periods that happen very close together, be sure to inform Dr. Tepper so that he can rule out any other possible causes.


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Treatment Options for Perimenopause Symptoms

During perimenopause, some women may find that the associated symptoms are uncomfortable or negatively impact their daily life. In these cases, there are a variety of treatment options to help ease symptoms. These may include the following:

  • Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy is currently the most effective treatment option for relieving hot flashes. It is available in a pill, patch, gel, cream, or spray form. It can also be given vaginally using a ring, cream, or tablet. For women who still have their uterus, the hormone progestin will need to be added along with estrogen.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressants that are related to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help to lessen the severity and frequency of hot flashes. This option may be useful for those who cannot take estrogen or who have a mood disorder.
  • Gabapentin: In some cases, this medication can help to reduce hot flashes. It is often a good option for those who cannot take estrogen or for those who have frequent migraines.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes may help to ease some of the symptoms associated with perimenopause. This includes eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, regularly exercising, getting consistent and quality sleep, and keeping stress levels under control.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.


Contact Us to Learn More

Are you experiencing the symptoms associated with perimenopause? If so, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tepper today. We pride ourselves on providing each of our patients with personalized, professional care.

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