Do you ever wonder if you are in perimenopause? What is the actual age that you are supposed to reach before you reach perimenopause? Well let us take a look at that. It really kind of matters what happened to you during your hormonal lifespan.
So, you start puberty at anywhere from ages Eleven to Fifteen. When you have your first menstrual cycle, you are going to see a mimic of your hormones in the perimenopausal period on the other end of the cycle. Most women menstruate for about thirty-five years. So that window is going to be shorter if you started you periods earlier. Longer if you started your periods later.
Check the Age Menopause Appears in your Family
Now, the biggest factor that you need to pay attention to is number one: what was your mother’s age of menopause? The average age of menopause is fifty-one. If your mother went through it at 51, she probably started perimenopause a few years before that. Perimenopause can last for five to fifteen years. So your mother may have started it at say forty-six. Maybe as early as forty years of age.
So that is going to be your indicator. Not just your mother but your maternal relatives, and your grandmother. If you have any older sisters. If you have any aunts on your mother’s side of family. When you ask them, it can outline the time that you start perimenopause.
Pay Attention to the Average Age of Perimenopause
So what is the average age of perimenopause? Most women start at around forty-five. It can be started as late as forty-nine, but it can be started as early as thirty-five. You may start to have perimenopausal symptoms. You’re are skipping periods, you are moodier, your PMS is exaggerated, you have hot flashes. You may be perimenopausal. I have quite a few of my patients that will come to me at thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine years of age with early perimenopausal symptoms.
My belief is that perimenopause is happening earlier and earlier because of the stress that we are under. Progesterone, which is the main hormone that starts to fall in perimenopause, is also used by your adrenal glands to make stress hormones. So the more stress you are under, the more you waste that progesterone that your ovaries are making and the more likely you are going to start to see perimenopausal symptoms earlier. So even though the average age, approximately between forty and fifty, is when most women will start having perimenopausal symptoms, don’t be surprised if you start in your late thirties.
Look Out for Premature Ovarian Failure
What if you are younger than that? Well, if you’re younger than forty and have these perimenopausal symptoms, especially if you’re younger than thirty-five, you really need to consider that you may be going through premature ovarian failure. That needs to be checked. And what you can do is have your health care provider draw an FSH, follicle stimulating hormone level about day three to five of your period. On day three to five of normal menstrual cycle, your FSH level should be low in response to your previous month’s production of estrogen. If it is elevated, over fifteen, you are starting to perimenopause.
Now FSH will not always show. You may have a good month. And, then you have a month where you feel super symptomatic. The more symptomatic months, that next menstrual period, you are going to have a higher FSH. So you may have to check it a few times to see for sure.
I see many, many women that may get misdiagnosed and think it is something else. You are just anxious. Maybe you are depressed. You are given anti-anxieties or antidepressants instead of being treated hormonally when you are actually going through perimenopause. And, remember, perimenopause can last five to fifteen years. So balancing your hormones is the key to a graceful transition through menopause.