Menopause is a natural life stage that occurs when the ovaries have reduced function; it’s associated with lower levels of estrogen and other hormones, and marks the period when fertility ends.
Perimenopause, or the menopausal transition, is the process leading up to menopause; perimenopause may begin around the ages of 45 to 55 and lasts an average of seven years.
Sometime during the mid-40s, shifting hormone levels typically begin, as egg cells, which are surrounded by granulosa cells that produce hormones, are reduced in numbers.
During this time, eggs are released less frequently, leading to irregular menstrual cycles.
Perimenopause, which means “around menopause,” occurs as ovulation becomes less predictable, leading to changes in menstrual cycles, including longer or shorter intervals between periods, changes in flow and skipping some periods.
Menopause marks the moment when ovulation and menstruation stop, coinciding with a drop in estrogen levels.