Q: What exactly is your definition of phantom periods? and if it's what i'm thinking, how long can this last? thank you, for your help.
A phantom period is when all the symptoms of an impending period are there -- replete with PMS, breast tenderness, cramps, the headaches many women suffer prior to their period starting, and then ... nothing happens. No period. You wonder if something is wrong, but in most cases, it's nothing more than the body's reaction to and confusion by fluctuating hormones and after years of menstruating, suddenly it's as though your body is saying, "Well, maybe we'll have a period and maybe we won't!" It can be annoying, but it's not unusual.
During perimenopause, while your body is preparing to cease menstruating, this isn't uncommon at all. You may experience many episodes of phantom periods. I wouldn't become alarmed about it. Remember, you've been menstruating for so many years, it takes the body quite some time to stop having periods. As an aside, even women who've been postmenopausal have experienced "phantom periods" -- including me!