The earliest stage of the menopause transition is called perimenopause. The word itself means “around menopause,” and it can span 7-10 years before menopause. Menopause is defined as the point at which a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. So if you're still having your period, even if it's irregular, and you are approximately 40 years old, you are likely in perimenopause.
Many women don’t know there is an early stage of menopause and that there are ways to reduce their symptoms and improve long-term health. Women in perimenopause can benefit from estrogen (and often progesterone too) in the form of a pill, skin patch, or cream. Hormone replacement therapy remains the most effective treatment option for relieving perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms and easing the menopause transition, while preventing long-term health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.