Effects of Perimenopause on Expats: How to Cope

August 2023

Perimenopause is a significant phase of a woman’s life, but it is often misunderstood or mistaken for menopause. For expats, experiencing perimenopause while living abroad adds a unique layer of challenges and considerations.  


In this blog post, we’ll explore what perimenopause actually means, its implications, and the unique challenges expats may face when experiencing it. We’ll also delve into some strategies to help expats cope with this new phase and understand how to move forward through the transition.  

Perimenopause is when a person’s body begins to transition towards the menopause, marking the end of reproductive years. It can last for years, and starts at different ages for every woman. Some notice symptoms from their mid-40s, while for some with early perimenopause, it can begin in their 30s. Once a woman has gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, she officially enters menopause, and the perimenopausal stage is over.  

The symptoms and side effects of perimenopause can include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in libido


The stages of perimenopause vary from person to person. It can last anywhere from a few months to several years before transitioning into menopause. It's important to note that each woman's experience with perimenopause is unique. 

Perimenopausal symptoms themselves can be quite debilitating, but they are not the only challenging part of this time. Some women may experience early menopause, which refers to the onset of menopause before the age of 40. This might occur naturally or as a result of medical interventions or conditions. Early menopause brings its own set of physical and emotional adjustments that may require additional support. There are also fertility concerns to think about. Expats planning to start or expand their families should be aware of the potential impact of perimenopause and early menopause on fertility. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals can provide valuable insights and options for family planning, which is why it’s important to choose an international healthcare provider that offers support.  

While the perimenopause can be challenging for anyone, expats have particular pressures to deal with. For example, many expats may face challenges in finding suitable healthcare providers who understand the specific needs and symptoms associated with perimenopause, especially if they are based in a country where the subject is still considered as taboo. Expats should research local medical services and seek recommendations from other expats in the same position.


Cultural and language barriers can also hinder expats in finding support for perimenopause. Expats should be proactive in learning about local norms and practices around women’s health and seek support wherever they can – this might be from an online community or a local expat group.


Finding a strong support network is the most important thing for expats to navigate this time of their lives. It’s easy to feel isolated when away from familiar support networks. Expats should make efforts to be as social as possible and share their experiences with others. 

As an expat, you may be struggling to find the support you need while abroad. That’s why it’s important to prioritise self-care. Here are a few ways to do so.

  • Focus on stress relief and relaxation with mindfulness and meditation
  • Take care of your physical health with regular exercise, good sleep and a balanced diet
  • Seek emotional support wherever is comfortable for you, whether through friends, family, a therapist, or a perimenopause group
  • Adapt your daily routine to suit this new phase of life – this might include new exercise regimens, a different schedule, or pencilling in self-care days where possible 
By understanding the effects of perimenopause, being aware of the stages and potential implications, seeking appropriate healthcare, building support networks, and prioritising self-care, expats can embrace this transformative phase with resilience and grace. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and we’re always here to help. Allianz Partners provides expats with a helping hand and a listening ear, no matter where they’re based. Check out our options for international health insurance and find a plan to suit your phase of life.