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Preparing for perimenopause

Last Modified: October 19, 2022

Family Medicine, Women & Children


Most women understand menopause is a natural part of aging, but did you know there is a transitional phase called perimenopause that occurs several years beforehand? Michele Helfgott, MD, PPG – Integrative Medicine, helps define this reproductive shift and the self-care strategies women can employ to make this stage of life more comfortable.

Perimenopause vs. menopause

Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause that can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. During this time, your body’s production of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone will decrease, triggering various physical and emotional changes as you shift toward the end of your reproductive years.

Menopause, on the other hand, is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. It is typically diagnosed once you’ve gone 12 months consecutively (an entire year) without a period. Once this happens, you’ve officially begun menopause. Also, it’s important to note that while you “begin” menopause, it’s not something you go through or get over. It does not end. It is a continuum. Your symptoms may improve or subside, but technically you are in menopause for the rest of your life.

When perimenopause begins

On average, most women don’t begin perimenopause until their 40s. However, we’re seeing this transition occur earlier and earlier, with some women experiencing symptoms in their 30s. This progression is likely due to your environment, diet, hormones, a lack of exercise, stress and a variety of other factors.

Symptoms of perimenopause

Throughout the transition to menopause, a woman’s body will undergo various changes. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of perimenopause can include:  

  • Irregular periods
  • Mood changes/irritability
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vaginal and bladder issues
Managing symptoms at home

While there is no specific treatment for perimenopause, there are natural ways to manage and alleviate your symptoms. Some of the most effective strategies you can incorporate into your routine include:

Several herbs and natural remedies can also help ease perimenopause symptoms, but please speak with your provider before adding any new medications or supplements to your regimen.

When to seek assistance

While most women find relief from their perimenopause symptoms by making the necessary lifestyle changes, they may not work for everyone. If the above strategies don’t help, you may need hormonal support (progesterone or even estrogen in some cases) or further assistance.

Furthermore, if you experience spotting after your period, blood clots during your period, or periods that are much longer or shorter than normal it could be a warning sign or precursor to something more serious. If this happens, or you have any further questions or concerns, please speak with your OB/GYN or primary care provider. They can help you find a care plan that works for you.


For more information or to schedule an appointment with a PPG – Integrative Medicine provider, please call our office at 260-672-6590. For more about our services, please fill out a request form, and one of our care team members will contact you with more details.

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