Perimenopause is the transition period or the interval before one truly becomes menopausal. The perimenopausal time period is a natural shift of the hormonal cycle to irregular cycles and finally towards permanent infertility – the loss of eggs. The timing of perimenopause is variable and starts at different ages. For most women it starts in the 40s but in some cases, it may even start in the late 30s.
A woman may notice that her periods are becoming irregular and may vary in length of days from longer to shorter; and the actual menstrual cycle may also vary. This may go one for several months and eventually lead to permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle.
Associated with the perimenopausal period is the start of some symptoms like hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and vagina dryness. In most cases, the perimenopausal period lasts about 9-12 months. Once a woman has gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, she has then medically reached the stage of menopause.