The gradual transition between the reproductive years and menopause (the cessation of menstrual periods) is called perimenopause (literally meaning “around menopause”). It is generally a transition that is many years long and can be associated with shorter menstrual intervals, irregular menses, night sweats, and other symptoms. In some women, these symptoms are troublesome enough to need medical intervention.
Menopause, whether natural or induced, is called premature when it happens at age 40 or younger. This occurs in about 1% of women in the United States. Premature menopause that is not induced can be genetic, metabolic, autoimmune, or the result of other poorly understood conditions. Premature menopause should be evaluated thoroughly.
Menopause symptoms related to induced menopause can be similar to those from natural menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. But premenopausal women who experience induced menopause can have more intense symptoms and, therefore, a greater need for treatment to control them than women who undergo natural menopause. And because you may be going through menopause at a young age, you need ongoing monitoring and sometimes treatment to lower your risk of menopause associated diseases, such as osteoporosis, later in life.
The North American Menopause Society maintains a search feature on this Web site for those women in the United States or Canada who are searching for physicians and other healthcare providers interested in helping them manage their health through menopause and beyond. Those who have passed a competency examination leading to the prestigious credential of NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner are noted in the displayed results.
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