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Menopause and Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the period in a woman’s life when her body begins the transition that results in menopause, or the cessation of monthly menses or periods. Menopause is said to be complete one full year following the last period. Both menopause and perimenopause are different for every woman, and not all women even experience symptoms. Both are natural parts of the aging process. The cause of the symptoms associated with menopause is estrogen deficiency. In the perimenopausal period, estrogen levels can fluctuate randomly, leading to confusion as to where the woman is in the process of menopause. Your doctor can assess your estrogen level and work with you to determine your need for hormone management.

Internet Resources

MedlinePlus: Menopause
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for health care consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information targeting the lay public.

The Hormone Foundation
This Web site from the Endocrine Society focuses on the hormonal changes in women that result in menopause. Some of the information is available in Spanish. A very helpful table outlines the pros and cons for treating various symptoms of menopause.


  • Menopause matters: your guide to a long and healthy life. Edelman J. 2010
  • Before your time: the early menopause survival guide. Sterling E. 2010
  • Gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine. Longe JL, ed. 2009 Available in print at the Health Learning Center or electronically at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health library virtual library.
  • Management of the menopause. Rees M. 2009
  • Menopause FAQs. Weber V. 2007
  • Menopause with science and soul: a guidebook for navigating the journey. Boice JT. 2007
  • Perimenopause. Novi JM, ed. 2009
  • Perimenopause and menopause workbook: a comprehensive, personalized guide to hormone health. Simpson KR. 2006
  • Women’s health: your body, your hormones, your choices. Thacker HL. 2007.

Journals and Journal Articles

  • “Mental performance during perimenopause.” Harvard Mental Health Letter. 26(3):7. Sept. 2009
  • “Can menopausal hormone therapy prevent coronary heart disease?” Trends Endocrinology and Metabolism. Brinton EA. et al. Apr 2008
  • “Depression at perimenopause: More than just hormones.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch. June 2008. 15(10):1–2.
  • “Hormone therapy: An update on risks and benefits.” Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource. March 2009. Suppl:1–8.
  • “Hot flashes: Turning down the heat.” Mayo Clinic Health Letter. May 2009. 27(5):7.
  • “Menopause relief without HRT.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health after 50. August 2008. 20(6):2.


The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database is available at all of the Health Learning Centers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and can be searched to learn more about complementary approaches to dealing with the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Alberto Culver Health Learning Centerat 312.926.5465, or e-mail us at HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateOctober 29, 2012