Mayo Clinic Minute: Perimenopause and menopause

Menopause marks a significant transition for women, yet understanding its precursor, perimenopause, and its symptoms can be complex.

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Women’s Health and medical director of The Menopause Society, says experiencing perimenopause and menopause can be confusing for some. She says it is not only patients who may find it confusing, but medical providers as well, due to lack of training in menopause management.

“Menopause is defined by no menstrual cycle for a year,” says Dr. Faubion.

She says women won’t know they’ve entered menopause until they’ve experienced a full year without menstruation.

“Perimenopause is the time leading up to that, and for many women, it can last a long time — six to 10 years is possible,” Dr. Faubion says.

That’s when you may experience irregular periods and a host of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep issues and mood changes.