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What’s Perimenopause and what should women know about this period?

Dr. Bahar Amin, MD.

Perimenopause marks the transitional phase leading up to menopause, typically occurring in women’s late 40s to early 50s, though the timing can vary. During this period, hormone levels fluctuate, particularly estrogen, which can lead to a variety of physical and emotional changes. Symptoms can include irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration from woman to woman.

Understanding perimenopause is crucial for women approaching this stage of life, as it allows them to recognize and manage the changes they may experience. While some women navigate perimenopause with relatively few symptoms, others may find it significantly disruptive to their daily lives. Open communication with healthcare providers is essential for tailored guidance and support. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques, can help alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being during this transitional phase.

Ultimately, perimenopause is a natural and inevitable part of the female reproductive journey. By recognizing its signs and symptoms and implementing appropriate lifestyle adjustments and medical interventions when necessary, women can navigate this transition with greater ease and confidence, empowering them to embrace the next stage of their lives with vitality and resilience.

Recent research on hormone therapy for perimenopausal women has advanced our understanding, offering new guidelines particularly regarding the safe use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for managing menopausal symptoms while considering cardiovascular health. A 2023 study from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center highlighted that HRT can be safely administered with consideration of the method used, the patient’s age, the time since menopause, and the patient’s cardiovascular risk. The study suggests that HRT remains an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes, especially for women who are younger than 60 or within 10 years post-menopause with low to moderate cardiovascular risk  .

Furthermore, the Cleveland Clinic, through guidance from the American College of Cardiology, also emphasizes the safe application of HRT for women with minimal cardiovascular risk. This approach uses detailed risk assessments to ensure the health and safety of the treatment for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.

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