Do you remember getting “the puberty talk” in health class? When your first period arrived, you hopefully knew roughly what to expect. But the same isn’t always true for perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause (which you officially reach when you haven’t had a period for 12 months).
If your period has arrived like clockwork all your life — only to start behaving more like a temperamental house guest — you may wonder what’s happening. “If we give young girls puberty talks, we should be giving women peri talks,” says obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Sameena Rahman from Illinois, United States. She likes to give her patients a heads-up about perimenopause before they get there.
Side note: If you don’t have periods because, for instance, you take hormonal contraception continuously or have had your uterus surgically removed, you’ll still go through menopause transition.