I'm Dixie. 50+ Biology and health educator, qigong practitioner, beauty and wellness founder, empty nester, and all round life lover.

A Simple Explanation of Perimenopause Menopause and Postmenopause

I often get asked by women, “How do I know if I’m in menopause – perimenopause or post-menopause?”

The word menopause is oftentimes used loosely to refer to the entire menopause experience. But I’m sure by now you know that the entire process occurs in stages. Namely, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Together they make the menopausal experience. Let’s take a look at each phase.

Perimenopause {period leading up to menopause}

Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause and can last anywhere from seven to fourteen years. It can begin as early as the mid-thirties (even the teens and twenties) and is initiated by a decline in hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone. 

For many, perimenopause is accompanied by a slew of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. There are over 40 symptoms related to the menopausal experience. As a matter of fact, the most recent figure I heard was over 70. I began perimenopause at thirty-eight years old and recently celebrated my transition into menopause and post-menopause back on November 23rd, 2023

Menopause {cessation or end of the period}

While perimenopause can typically last anywhere from seven to fourteen years, menopause technically lasts only one day. You’re said to  “officially” be (meaning you can safely say) in menopause when you’ve not had a period for twelve consecutive months or one year.  

For example, I officially entered menopause on November 23rd, 2022, which was twelve months/one year from my last period. However, my period stopped (menopause) on November 23rd, 2021, which is my actual/factual day of menopause. But I had to wait twelve months to be certain it would not return, and it did not. Hence the reason I celebrated my #menoversary on November 23rd, 2022. No more Period!!!!!!

So the twelve months is simply a guideline for people to know when they have crossed the perimenopause threshold. And that’s because some people may not have a period for 6, 7, 8….10 months, and then their period returns for a few more months. They then have to start the twelve-month countdown again. 

Once the twelve months have passed without a period, you can safely say you’ve experienced menopause and is in the next pause, post-menopause, which is where you’ll be for the rest of your life.

Post Menopause

You’re in post-menopause every day after you’ve officially transitioned to menopause. I entered post menopause as of November 24th, and there is where I shall stay for the rest of my life. Symptoms during post-menopause often overlap those of peri-menopause. Many people continue to have hot flashes and many of the other symptoms that are in effect during perimenopause.

And, no. post-menopause does not mean symptoms say sayonara. The not-so-good news is that for many, symptoms can continue for several more years.

I hope this gave you some perspective on the different phases of menopause. What phase are you in? And how has your experience been? Share in the comments below.

I'm a teacher, beauty/wellness founder, and Qigong Instructor. My work exists to support women and people experiencing the menopausal transition on their health and wellness journey. I believe in the sacredness, wholeness, and expansiveness of well-being and the menopausal passage, and I care deeply about teaching and creating experiences and safe spaces that provide support.

I'm Dixie Lincoln-Nichols

Hey, gorgeous!

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