I went through Peri-menopause it seemed like for ages. When I was getting to the end of that, I would skip several periods, and almost go a year without any,then bingo, there would be a short one,this went on until I was around 56, then I finally went a full 12 months.
The peri-menopause started when I was in my late 40's, my main symptoms were awful hot flashes that would come and go, and some extra irritability, I also noticed my once outstanding memory wasn't as good, and sadly, it still isn't, I guess that is just a perk of being older. I also had a harder time loosing weight.
After the menopause, you may still feel like you will have a period, but that is normal, at least for a few years, that is just your body adjusting to the decrease in hormones, but you shouldn't have a period, if you do after a complete 12 months, then it is a good idea to let you gyn know.
I'm wondering if these types of things like mood stability, irritability, etc. get better once menopause has occurred and you have no period. My doctor who I saw this week said the dirty secret of perimenopause is sleep deprivation. That most women suffer some form of insomnia or sleep deprivation as the are gearing up for menopause and it affects everything else. Her biggest advice for me going through this is to be protective of sleep. Hadn't really thought of that as the culprit to the irritability. And I've always been that person that needs tissues during Hallmark commercials right before my cycle (cry easily) or watch out and I'll bring out my viper tongue to let you have it (when I'd never ordinarily do that or go there) or find myself in the midnight drive through line of Taco Bell for a snack . . . so I've always reacted to hormones. It's just a little amplified. Would the silver lining be bad skin but less volatility in mood? (and I'm not a screaming maniac. I have decent impulse control but not ALWAYS as good as I'd like when the mono-mood hits).
I don't have clear experience, but I always heard that you are only menopausal after going a whole year with no periods. This hasn't happened for me yet, I've been on hormones. They keep the periods coming, though much shorter and lighter than they were. Also, the women in my family get their menopause super late. My mom took forever to stop having periods. (I'm sure she was in her 60s.) So it's hard to say how much of what is what, for me.
My sisters are also outliers -- one had her ovaries removed, one is an athlete and has no periods because her body fat is too low, one is younger than the average age for menopause. Nobody has ever commented on symptoms that sound specifically perimenopausal, if they are grumpy or moody we just chalk it up to them being them, not to perimenopause. lol
I have seen mood things with hormones, though. Back when I did IVF, they would turn off all my natural estrogen production with a drug, and when they did that, I would feel very draggy, exhausted and grumpy, and like I didn't want to see friends or go out and have people see me like that. Then the clinic would give me massive doses of estrogen to stimulate egg production, and it would make me very cheerful and upbeat. When I commented about how good I felt, my doctor commented, "Estrogen is a powerful drug."
My hormone dose now is light enough that some of the possible effects of not having much estrogen could be coming through. I don't feel wildly happy at any time any more, and wish some days that I could just sleep all day. Lots of people like to sleep, but the mood being so unsmiling is rather new. i wouldn't be surprised if it's related to menopause, whether the hormones have kept my uterus going or not.