COVID-19 vaccine resources — we're here to help.
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Verify your medical group

Refer to your insurance card or call your insurance provider to determine your medical group.

You can also search for your primary care doctor to find the medical group you and your doctor belong to.

Driving Directions
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

What to expect when you’re expecting … perimenopause

Jan. 27, 2016

Menopause symptoms

There are commercials about it, ads in magazines about it, even skits on “Saturday Night Live” about it. We hear about menopause more often than we’d like, especially if we’re fast approaching it. But what we don’t often learn about is perimenopause, the period preceding menopause that lasts four years, on average.

Dr. Catherine Sundsmo, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy, recently took some time to explain perimenopause and all that comes with it. Here are her top five tips on what to expect when you’re expecting perimenopause:

  1. Expect to wait a while. Natural menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods, determined after a woman has experienced 12 months of no menstrual periods. The average age of menopause is 51. Once menopause is complete, a woman can no longer get pregnant. Perimenopause, now commonly known as menopausal transition, occurs during the approximately four years preceding menopause.

  2. Expect those dreaded night sweats. Menopause does not happen suddenly. Many women experience several years of changes during the menopausal transition before their periods stop completely. The natural decline in estrogen in the body during perimenopause can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, drastic mood changes, depression, anxiety, weight gain, forgetfulness, insomnia, exhaustion, headaches, irregular periods, breast pain, decreased libido and vaginal dryness. Many of these symptoms improve once the menopausal transition is complete, but some symptoms may persist.

  3. Expect that you might need a little help. Perimenopause and menopause are a normal part of a woman’s life and do not need to be treated medically. However, if symptoms are bothersome to you and disrupting your life, there are several treatments available. Some include anti-depressants, supplements, hormonal medications such as low-dose birth control or low-dose hormone therapy, and “natural” remedies such as black cohosh and soy.

  4. Expect to feel like you’re pregnant (even if you’re not). Perimenopause and pregnancy share several of the same symptoms including lack of periods, vaginal bleeding or spotting, weight gain, breast tenderness, headache and nausea. Even though the chance of getting pregnant between the ages of 45 to 49 is roughly 3 percent, the possibility of pregnancy must always be considered in any female who is experiencing these symptoms, is sexually active and does not use regular contraception.

  5. Expect to stay active. Although several factors such as genetics, smoking, obesity, ethnicity and reproductive history contribute to when you might see signs of perimenopause, there are things you can do to make the transition more comfortable. Exercise regularly to maintain cardiovascular health and weight, and to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles; enjoy a nutritious diet; drink lots of water to stay hydrated; practice relaxation methods to decrease stress; take 1,200 mg calcium and 800 to 2,000 IU vitamin D daily; and use a lubricant to ease intercourse discomfort.

Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about menopause. Together you can plan appropriate ways to address your symptoms.

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us


For medical or psychiatric emergencies, call 911 immediately.

Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth

Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process your price estimate if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.