Women today are focusing on their careers and having children later in life. In fact, there are perimenopausal and menopausal women trying to conceive through fertility treatments and donor eggs. Whether you’ve decided to have children later in life or not, perimenopause can mimic pregnancy symptoms. Likewise, you could experience overlapping symptoms.
Menopause is when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. Perimenopause is the stage before menopause and often entails similar symptoms such as irritability, hot flashes, breast tenderness, low energy, and more. Except that perimenopausal women will still menstruate. Menstrual cycles during the perimenopausal stage often change. Some of the changes include irregular, shorter, or longer than normal periods. While technically not a woman’s “prime fertility window,” it’s becoming more popular for perimenopausal women to conceive. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), birth rates rose for women between 35-44 by two percent. However, live births rose the highest for women 45-49, including women 50 and older, by three percent. 1
What does this all mean? More mature women are having children later in life. So, it’s important to understand the similarities between pregnancy symptoms and menopause symptoms.
Perimenopause and pregnancy symptoms are similar. This is due to big hormonal changes, primarily estrogenic in nature, that cause a wide range of bothersome symptoms. However, if you weren’t actively trying to conceive and are of menopausal age, consider reviewing the symptoms below. Missed periods or irregular periods are common in perimenopausal women. But as mentioned above, menopause is the absence of a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months.
Due to the symptoms being similar, make sure to check with your doctor. It is possible to be either pregnant or in peri/menopause. Having a HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) blood test can help let you know if you’re pregnant or not. If you haven’t been actively trying to conceive, whether natural or through fertility treatments, review your symptoms with your health care provider. Your doctor can determine if you’re in menopause and the best treatment options for you. Every woman is unique and will experience menopause differently. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask questions with a medical professional. Every stage of a woman’s life comes with rewarding opportunities and life lessons. Embrace this new chapter and your transition.
There are various types of contraception you should consider if you’re not planning on getting pregnant and if you’re perimenopausal. To be on the safe side, talk with your gynecologist and research birth control options. According to NAMS (North American Menopause Society)2, perimenopausal women need to continue using birth control until menopause is confirmed. This means it may be safe for menopausal women to do away with birth control once they’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a period. Always speak with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.
This blog post and the recommendations made herein are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used as healthcare advice. Individuals are encouraged to consult their healthcare provider with questions about their specific needs.
The references provided in this blog post are identified for informational purposes only and such references and the underlying research, including the entities and individuals involved in the underlying research, did not involve Amberen and are not affiliated with Amberen or the makers of Amberen.