How Long Does Perimenopause Last?

by Magnolia on July 24, 2012

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When you are in the thick of perimenopause, there is no doubt; it can feel like it’s going to last forever.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you might even question whether you’re going to come out sane on the other side.

Mood swings, panic attacks, heart palpitations, erratic menstrual cycles, irritability, rage and depression, are all symptoms of perimenopause which can not only make women feel as if they are literally going crazy, but can cause no end of despair if they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankfully, perimenopause does eventually end, and normalcy returns when actual menopause is reached.  However, like the actual experience of perimenopause itself, how long the entire process takes is highly individual.

Some women seem to glide through perimenopause in a couple of short years, hardly noticing the bumps along the way.  Others, myself included, struggle through years of difficult symptoms with varying degrees of intensity before they finally reach menopause.

Your Experience is Normal

One of the problems with measuring health experiences against statistics and averages, is that if our experience does not fall within what might be called the “average or normal range” we assume that our experience is not normal, when this is just not the case.

For example: statistically, the average length of time that women are in perimenopause is said to be about four years.  However, perimenopause can actually last as long as 12 to 15 years for some women, and as little as 2 to 3 years for others. All experiences on either side of the average and all points in between are normal.

I am one of those women who experienced perimenopause over a time period of close to 15 years.  I was 41 years old when the first noticeable symptoms began.  But I did not reach actual menopause until the age of 55.  However, it is important to point out, that the severity and intensity of my symptoms did not last 15 years

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

sher boudreau July 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I started with mild perimenopause symptoms after my tubal ligation in 1996. Since then they have been progressively getting worse culminating this year. The rage is beyond words and seems so uncontrollable over absolutely nothing at times. My insomnia has gotten worse, my skin is worse than it was during my teens (acne, dry, shiny).

My periods are still ongoing but vary in regularity and intensity. I feel like I’m 13 again in some aspects. My body is doing things I hadn’t anticipated nor was told about.

More talk needs to be done for young girls to show them what is ahead. Now at 45, I wish I had known more before I got to this stage.

Reply

Magnolia July 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Sher,

Progesterone. Progesterone. Progesterone. Get thee to a doctor and ask for Prometrium (bioidentical, FDA approved progesterone), or find a high quality compounded grade.

If you need some suggestions, ask and I’ll recommend some.

Magnolia

Reply

tency July 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I am 47 years old had a hysterectomy ‘did not remove ovaries but i still went into perimenopause, its been a year an 4 months and its been really hard to handle but i been taking Sam-e and it takes the edge off. Thank -you for having this blog it makes me feel better that am not alone out there.

Reply

Magnolia July 28, 2012 at 12:38 am

Hi Tency,

No, you are not alone. That is definitely one of the biggest emotional elements of perimenopause. Women feel alone. But, you’re not.

Please stop by any time.

Magnolia

Reply

Jane Heyman August 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Hi
I am taking effexor but still have alot of symtoms before and during my period can`t wait for it to be over. I am 48 so it hope not long now. Periods are irregular and not on time. Just glad to know i am not alone..

jane

Reply

Magnolia August 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hi Jane,

Thanks for commenting. No, you are definitely not alone. Many of us have walked the path before you. Many are still in it!

Magnolia

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Lina August 7, 2012 at 4:09 am

I am 55. I still have my irregular periods. This month clots are heavier than previous months. Two years ago my periods were heavy and lasted 14 days. I checked with the doctor and he said everything was fine. But this time around, 19 days have passed and the periods have been heavy in the mornings. I am worried. I am not on any medication.

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Janet Nuccio August 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I am 52. Two years ago I had reconstructive surgery for a uterine prolapse and had to have my uterus removed so no more periods. I do find I experience what feels like an enhanced heart rate every now and then. I went to a cardiologist and everything is fine but they never mentioned perimenopause. Sometimes I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin, especially when it comes to wearing a bra! I can get that thing off fast enough after working with it on all day!! Is it just me?! I feel messed up in the head sometimes, my husband and kids drive me crazy … I have 2 teenagers so we are all experiencing hormonal swings!

Reply

Magnolia August 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hi Janet,

No, it is not just you. Perimenopause (if that is what you are experiencing) makes us ALL feel like we are going nuts. When you have teens with their mood swings on top of everything, it can be twice as difficult.

Thanks for sharing your experience, and I’m sorry I missed your comment. I would have answered you sooner.

Magnolia

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kathleen August 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

hi there gid my drls my panic attacks are so bad when i should be grtting my period and ii feel like crying all the time i have to pee all the time im going to be 50 yhis year and im stressing over everything

Reply

Magnolia August 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

Kathleen,

Panic attacks are not uncommon for women in perimenopause. Have you considered 5-HTP? St. John’s Wort? Both can be helpful in promoting a more calm state of being.

The need to go to the bathroom a lot is fluctuating estrogen. I had a serious problem with it during the worst of my symptoms, but now that I’m menopausal and my hormones aren’t all over the place, I don’t have issues with it at all – unless I drink a lot of water just before bed time.

Magnolia

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camille August 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

I am 47 and have all the peri menopausal symptoms for years now i am getting a very light spotting every 3 months away. i had bloodwork and also levels are through the roof! this month i had symptoms of pms like but lingered made me very nervous and moody. i wish i could take a hormone but cannot due to having Factor v Leiden. once i read up on this site i realized i am not alone. i told my husband i believe my symptoms are hormone related. he has some doubts. however like i said i read a lot about my issues. i decided i am not going to let them get the better of me. that’s all i can do. 1 thing i know for sure is when i miss 3 cycles or more i dont have any mood issues pretty even keeled. thank you for being here.
camille

Reply

Magnolia August 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

Hi Camille,

No, you’re not alone. Most men, unfortunately, don’t get the hormone swings I’m sorry to say. Some of them try, but it’s an uphill battle for most of them in my experience.

You will get through this. I felt like I would never make it to the other side during the worst of my symptoms, but I did. You will too.

Magnolia

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Pam V. July 23, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I just turned 51 and have been irregular for a while but got a normal period 3 weeks ago. However, over the past 4 days Out of the blue I have had dizzyness, nausea, weight loss from not feeling like eating, no appetite, irritabilty, bluriness, hot spells and even a cold spell today. My male doc thinks it could be from the Clindamycin I finished 2.5 weeks ago but I have taken that before. My nausea has come and gone a couple of times during the day and after laying down 15 min it is gone! So I started thinking it was hormone related as I found this odd. Any thoughts? Am I right?

Reply

Magnolia July 25, 2013 at 7:30 am

Hi Pam,

It’s hard to say with certainty what is causing it. But, I’m a big believer in following your hunches. If you think it might be hormone related, it just might be. Have you seen a physician for perimenopause symptoms?

Magnolia

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