Pure Health Hub: What Is Menopause and Perimenopause?

For decades, menopause has been a part of a negative narrative. This has led to vast numbers of women feeling unprepared and unsure of how to even define this stage of life. Shirley Weir, founder of MenopauseChicks.com, has made “Definitions” the first social learning unit for members in her growing private online community.

“We simply can’t have meaningful conversations unless we are all on the same page. You might assume for a life phase that 100% of women experience, definitions would be straight-forward. Though progress is being made, we still have far to go to ensure women have access to quality midlife health information.” – Shirley Weir

PERIMENOPAUSE: Coined in 1996, perimenopause is the transition phase from a woman’s reproductive years to menopause. It’s different for every woman. Perimenopause is a phase of hormone fluctuation (not decline) and can last 5-15 years. Contrary to marketers and media, hot flashes are NOT the first sign of perimenopause. It is common for hormone fluctuations to lead to irregular or heavy bleeding, mood changes, breast tenderness and sometimes sleep changes, anxiety or depression. Women do not “go through” menopause. They go through perimenopause.

MENOPAUSE: is one day. Natural menopause is the 12-month anniversary of the (very) last menstrual period. The average age of menopause is 51.2.

POST-MENOPAUSE: is the day after menopause and the rest of a woman’s life. Many health professionals don’t use the term post-menopause, so to be clear, Shirley prefers to say, “I reached menopause at 49.”

Shirley Weir, 52, is on a mission to empower women to navigate perimenopause-tomenopause (& beyond!) with confidence and ease. She recently published her first book, MOKITA, which reached #1 on www.amazon.ca in women’s health last year. For more information, check out her website www.menopausechicks.com.

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