Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

5 things to know about perimenopause and menopause

Including how it impacts your mental health

by Vivian Nunez

It’s possible that an adult in your life once sat you down and talked to you about your first period. Whether it was at home or school, someone may have made a moment out of the upcoming life transition you were facing.

While it isn’t common to have “the talk” about big life transitions later in adulthood, it doesn’t mean that a talk or explainer isn’t necessary. Everyone has heard of perimenopause and menopause, but rarely do we actually know what either term means or what symptoms are tied to the menopausal phase in a menstruating human’s life.

Below, we break down some of the bigger facts about living with perimenopause and menopause.

Perimenopause happens before menopause

Perimenopause means “around menopause,” and while it can vary in length, it is the precursor to being fully in menopause. Perimenopause can start as early as someone’s 30s but typically begins in a menstruating person’s mid-40s.

Perimenopause isn’t the only way a person can kickstart their menopause journey

While many individual’s perimenopause experiences unfold naturally, it’s also possible that certain medical conditions or surgeries can kickstart menopause ahead of time. For instance, according to the Office on Women’s Health, hysterectomy, chemotherapy, or autoimmune conditions are just some potential triggers for an early onset of menopause.

Thousands of women begin menopause daily

In our Calm Health clinical program, Thriving Through the Menopause Transition, you’ll learn that, on average, about 6,000 women in the U.S. start their menopause journey every day. While it’s sometimes an overwhelming or anxiety-inducing experience, there may be comfort in knowing you’re not the only one.

Perimenopause and menopause can share common symptoms

The biggest difference between living with perimenopause and menopause is the length of time of your missed period. To be considered in menopause, you must have missed 12 consecutive periods. Both perimenopause and menopause share other common symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and sleep disruptions.

Menopause impacts both physical and mental health

Menopause’s physical symptoms often lead the discussion, but menopause impacts a person’s mental health as well. In researching Calm Health’s Thriving Through the Menopause Transition clinical program, we found that 20% of women in perimenopause struggle with depressive symptoms. Symptoms like brain fog are prevalent among those living with either perimenopause and menopause.

No matter how little or how much you know about this next stage of life, it’s important to remember that you are an expert in your own body and mind. Noticing your symptoms, but also what works to help manage them, is a step in the right direction and towards the right care.

Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other mental or physical health condition. The use of Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a health condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider. Calm Health is a mental wellness product.

Ready to get started?

We’ve made it easy to take the first step. Just download the Calm Health app, create your account, and answer a few simple questions to help us understand how you’re feeling. You’ll get instant recommendations for the Calm Health programs that will be the most helpful for you.

Our programs are created by licensed psychologists, and you can explore them at your own pace, in any order you like.

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