What is perimenopause? It is a normal transition of female bodies from being fertile and able to conceive children to menopause. What are some symptoms? The main symptom is irregular periods. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain, low sex drive, some incontinence and difficulty sleeping are associated with perimenopause. Some women will not experience any of these symptoms. This condition differs between women some starting to show signs in early thirties others in their forties or fifties. What can be done to ease symptoms? Most symptoms are relieved by taking birth control pills which has added estrogen that your body is losing during perimenopause phase. Changes in diet and exercise have worked for some. Supplementing calcium and vitamin D helps while fighting off osteoporosis. This occurs when estrogen starts tapering off and bone loss speeds up. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol has been reported to reduce hot flashes. Perimenopause carries some emotional changes as well. Estrogen levels can range from too much to not enough causing an array of emotions. Mood swings, fatigue, stress and depression are also common symptoms. Hormone replacement and antidepressant therapy are said to aid in reduction of such symptoms. Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga have also been known to help decrease symptoms without medication. Continue use of birth control methods if pregnancy is not desired. Pregnancy is a possibility at this stage also. The ovaries are still working and releasing eggs even if supply is lowering. Perimenopause has been known to last any where from two to eight years. When a woman has gone one year without menstruation the perimenopause stage has ended. Next stage in life is called menopause. Some women prefer all natural remedies derived from plants. Contact a physician before starting any over the counter medications that may interact with some prescriptions.