Perimenopause is a stage of a woman’s life that can start at any age but typically, “starting at age 43 the female brain becomes less sensitive to estrogen, touching off a cascade of symptoms that can vary month to month and year to year, ranging from hot flashes and joint pain to anxiety and depression…For a lucky 15 percent of women, perimenopause — the two to nine year (period) is a breeze, but for about 30 percent it can cause major discomfort, and 50 to 60 percent of women experience some perimenopausal symptoms at least some of the time. Interest, or the lack of it, in sex can be an issue as well. Along with the estrogen drop, testosterone can also drop dramatically at this time”. The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine, p.141.
At the Center, we often see women in their 40’s who complain of low desire. We generally treat low desire with testosterone. Low testosterone may be the result of perimenopause, particularly for a woman in her 40’s, however, we also see women in their 20’s who suffer from low desire. It is possible that some women’s bodies may make small amounts of testosterone to begin with, or possibly their bodies don’t easily utilize the testosterone they make. One is not considered “in menopause” until they have not gotten a period for a year. A physician assistant at our Center, Tara Ford, said that in fact you can go 11 months and 29 days and if you menstruate you need to start the calendar again. A woman’s cycle is a fairly complex and unpredictable thing particularly as a woman heads towards menopause. What is important to me is that women begin to understand what they are going through, because the more women know about why their bodies are reacting as they are, the more empowered they are to make their lives symptom free and better.