As we move through hormonal changes, so many women
ask “How do I know if I’m in menopause?” That’s because the symptoms you’re dealing
with today can be frustrating and confusing and you want to know what’s causing
When does menopause start?
Hormonal changes take place anywhere from age 35-55
Equilibrium reduces hormonal fluctuations that cause distressing symptoms.
Some of the confusion is linked to the fact that there’s no single moment that confirms
you’re entering menopause. Instead, you experience a gradual transition through
perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause) to menopause, which is defined
as one year after your last period.
By the time many women “officially” start menopause, they’ve been experiencing symptoms
for some time — ranging from several months to more than 10 years. That’s because
your hormones start to shift and fluctuate long before your period stops.
Where are you in this transition? Take a look at the chart below to see a rough
progression of the hormonal changes that may be taking place in your body right
now. Remember, that every woman is unique, and that the severity and frequency of
symptoms depends a great deal on how much support you’re giving your body.
Are you in perimenopause or menopause? Take a look at your individual symptoms
You may not realize that in addition to hot flashes, night sweats, and even vaginal
dryness, there are many other symptoms connected to hormonal changes, such as anxiety,
mood swings and irritability. What’s more, because there aren’t accurate medical
tests to determine whether you’re in perimenopause or menopause, the best way to
know is to consider the number and severity of the symptoms you are experiencing.
How many symptoms are you experiencing as a result of menopause or perimenopause?
Take a look at the symptom list below. You may also want to take our short
Menopause & Perimenopause Quiz to better understand how your symptoms are
affecting your life and what you can do to feel better.
Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- PMS-like symptoms (cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and/or irritability)
- Sleep difficulties
- Fatigue and/or loss of energy
- Feeling sad, moody or overwhelmed
- Feeling anxious, having anxiety attacks or temporary heart palpitations
- Feeling forgetful, fuzzy minded or confused
- Irritability or just not feeling like yourself
- Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation or nausea
- Stiff or achy joints
- Weight gain, especially around the middle
- Loss of libido or a change in sexual desire
- Vaginal dryness
- Cravings (sweets, carbohydrates, etc.)
- Thinning hair or hair loss
Menopause — or not — you can feel the way you want
Whether you believe you’re close to menopause, in perimenopause or not, we encourage
you to focus on finding the way to feel your best.
Think of your symptoms simply as messages from your body communicating that something
is out of balance. What’s important to know is that there’s a lot you can do to
support your body to naturally regain balance. As you do this, you will decrease
your symptom frequency and severity (and in some cases even regain normal periods
and cycles) so you can get back to your life and have a little more fun every day.
No matter where you are in your hormonal journey, we can help you feel strong, energetic
Ojeda, Linda. 2000. Menopause Without Medicine, revised 4th edition, 28-34, CA:
Hunter House Publishers.
2 Lovick, TA. 2012. Estrous cycle and stress: influence of progesterone on the female
brain. Braz J Med Biol Res, 45(4), 314-320. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22450372.
3 Freeman, EW. 2005. The role of anxiety and hormonal changes in menopausal hot
flashes. Menopause, 12(3), 258-66. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15879914.
4 Prior, JC. 2012. Midlife Middle—Own the Power of Naming. URL: http://www.cemcor.ubc.ca/Help_yourself/Articles/Midlife_Muddle