How Long Do Menopause
Even though menopause marks a point in time in which a woman has not menstruated for 12 months and is no longer ovulating , the symptoms of menopause may persist.
Most women stop having hot flashes within five years following their final menstrual period. However, a report on the management of menstrual symptoms notes that the Penn Ovarian Aging Study found that more than one-third of women continued to have moderate to severe hot flashes for 10 years or more. Women who began having hot flashes as they entered perimenopause had them longer, for an average of 11.6 years. African-American women had a longer duration than white women.
Vaginal dryness, burning, and itchiness also occurs as a result of estrogen deficiency. The difference with this symptom is that it tends to get worse as women get older. In fact, only between one quarter and one third of women in perimenopause or early postmenopause experience vaginal dryness. But as women reach late postmenopause, about half report vaginal dryness.
There are other symptoms that may begin during perimenopause and persist throughout postmenopause. These include:
- Sleep problems
- Cognitive changes such as memory loss
- Muscle and joint pains
What Can I Do To Help Myself
To help you manage hot flushes, simple things like wearing light clothing, using a fan and keeping your bedroom cool could help.
If youre struggling with your mood, consider trying self-help measures like relaxation, getting enough sleep and staying active. Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet can also help to improve menopausal symptoms.
What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Is Heart Disease Linked To Menopause
Conditions related to your heart may arise during menopause, such as dizziness or cardiac palpitations. Decreased estrogen levels can prevent your body from retaining flexible arteries. This can impact blood flow.
Watching your weight, eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, and not smoking can reduce your chances of developing heart conditions.
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What Age Will I Be When I Go Through Menopause
The average age for onset of menopause is 51. The majority of women stop having periods somewhere between ages 45 to 55. The beginning stages of declining ovary function can start years before that in some women. Others will continue to have menstrual periods into their late 50s.
The age of menopause is
Anxiety Or Mood Changes
Most of us feel anxious at times, but you might find that things that you can usually cope with make you feel overwhelmed with anxiety. You might also feel upset, sad or angry in situations thatwould not have bothered you before.
These increases in anxiety and mood changes can be caused by hormonal changes.
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What Is Perimenopause Its When Menopause Symptoms Begin
Perimenopause or pre-menopause is a word that means around menopause. Perimenopause describes what happens to your body leading up to menopause. This stage typically starts about four to eight years before menopause.
When you enter perimenopause youll probably start to notice some early menopause symptoms like changes to your period or mood shifts. These changes happen because your bodys estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. As your ovaries produce lower amounts of these hormones, your body adapts. Its basically the reverse of what happened to your hormones as a teenager.
Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.
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Do Phytoestrogen Treatments Reduce The Number And Severity Of Hot Flushes And Are They Safe And Acceptable
Cochrane evidenceCochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question . The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More: A Cochrane review includes 43 randomisedRandomization is the process of randomly dividing into groups the people taking part in a trial. One group will be given the intervention being tested and compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . Morecontrolled trialsA trial in which a group is given a intervention being tested is compared with a group which does not receive the intervention . More with over 4000 women, but many were small, brief and poor quality, and looked at many different types of phytoestrogens.
There is no conclusive evidence to show that phytoestrogen supplements effectively reduce the frequency or severity of hot flushes and night sweats in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.
Will I Gain Weight When I Experience Menopause
Changes in your hormone levels may cause you to gain weight. However, aging can also contribute to weight gain.
Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
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How Can I Treat The Symptoms
There are a bunch of ways.
Lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise program will help manage your symptoms and boost your health. This is a great time to finally kick any old, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. To help with hot flashes, dress lightly and in layers. Avoid triggers like caffeine and spicy foods. And if you stay sexually active, that may help preserve your vaginal lining.
Prescription medication for hot flashes. If you still have your uterus, your doctor might prescribe treatment with estrogen and progesterone. This is called combination hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy . It helps with hot flashes and night sweats, and it may help prevent osteoporosis. If you donât have a uterus, you might get estrogen alone.
Hormone therapy isnât for everyone. Donât take it if you’ve ever had breast cancer, uterine or “endometrial” cancer, blood clots, liver disease, or a stroke. Also don’t take it if you might be pregnant or you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
If you can’t or don’t want to take hormones, other medications can ease symptoms. They include antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, or blood pressure medications to help with hot flashes and mood swings.
Prescription and OTC medication for vaginal dryness and sleep problems. You can try topical estrogen, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions for dryness and painful sex. OTC or prescription sleep aids can help if you have trouble falling asleep.
What Is Menopause Its A Moment In Time
Menopause is a specific point in time. Menopause occurs when periods stop and youve gone 12 consecutive months since having your last period. Once youve hit that moment, you enter post-menopause.
Reaching menopause means that youre no longer able to bear children. Every woman except for those whove had their ovaries removed before puberty will go through menopause.
When does menopause start?
The average menopause age is around 51. But some women experience menopause in their 40s with a small percentage experiencing menopause even younger. Some women may not reach menopause until their 60s.
Theres no way to know your exact menopause age until it happens, but genetics seem to play a strong role. You may get a general idea of when to expect menopause based on when your family members went through it, particularly your mother.
Genetics arent the only thing that can impact when menopause starts. Medical factors can also influence menopause timing. When the ovaries are removed, symptoms will begin to show immediately.
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases have also been associated with early menopause. Women whove undergone treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy are also more likely to show symptoms earlier.
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After Your Period Stops
The permanent end of menstrual periods doesnt necessarily mean the end of bothersome menopause symptoms, however.
Theres a window of about eight years in which women can feel those flashes and sweats, Dr. Audlin says.
Women who have reached menopause can expect menopause symptoms to become worse than they were during perimenopause, the 2- to 10-year stage leading up to the permanent end of menstruation. Experts dont know exactly why this happens, but its believed to be related to the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that regulates temperature.
The hypothalamus is acutely responsive to estrogens, Audlin says. Leading up to menopause, your estrogen levels fluctuate. When theyre high, you dont have symptoms. But when you go into menopause and theres a complete lack of estrogen, you start to notice those symptoms more.
Hormone Levels Fluctuate Leading To Menopause
As you approach menopause, the production of female hormones by the ovaries starts to slow down. Hormone levels tend to fluctuate, and you may notice changes in your menstrual cycle such as:
- period cycles may become longer, shorter or totally irregular
- bleeding may become lighter
- bleeding may become unpredictable and heavy .
Eventually, your hormone levels will fall to a point where your ovaries stop releasing eggs, your periods stop and menopause is reached.Although fertility after the age of 45 is low, you still need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. Its recommended to continue contraception until you have had one year without a natural period if youre over 50 years old, or two years without a natural period if youre under 50.
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Can Treatments Be Used To Reduce Menopause Symptoms
In some cases, it is possible to reduce the time that menopause symptoms last through treatment. If these symptoms are recurring for an extended period of time and are bothersome, you may consider HRT . This is considered to be a safe and effective option for postmenopausal women.
Essentially, this therapy is used to increase your estrogen levels, which will reduce or eliminate the symptoms of menopause in many cases. However, HRT will not reverse the process of menopause, but some types of treatment can bring back certain aspects of monthly cycles for some women . However, fertility does not return after menopause, even if a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy . The most common type of HRT involves taking both estrogen and progestin taken daily. Another regimen involves taking estrogen daily and supplementing that with progestin taken daily but only during a two week period each month. A combination of estrogen and progestin taken daily will generally not cause a return of monthly cycles, but alternating estrogen and progestin may for some women. However, this typically only occurs for a few months. Rarely, this reaction to the treatment will last for a longer period of time, but it is uncommon.
I Wasnt Expecting This
For instance, the hot flushes and night sweats didnt really bother me. The development of severe migraine that disabled me for 24 hours at least once a fortnight did. I was expecting irregular, heavier periods. I wasnt expecting to bleed three weeks out of four, or to have such excruciating period pain that I was given IM Pethidine by a sympathetic GP. I wasnt expecting bouts of dizziness and nausea requiring me to lie down for an hour at random times of the day. I was expecting to feel a bit tearful, a bit snappy. I wasnt expecting to be completely out of control of my emotions. Crying at criticism, at imagined slights, at the television for Gods sake. Or being angry and sharp, irrationally boiling with rage over really small things. Being within a hairs breadth of walking out of work, of leaving home and twelve hours later thinking What on earth, was that all about? It was about peri-menopause. No One Told Me it could be like that. No one warned me that these symptoms might be severe and intense so that I could recognize and work through those times to minimize the disruption to me, my colleagues, my family, my work. And then there were the myriad other relatively minor things forgetfulness, poor concentration, weight gain , forgetting what I wanted to say mid-sentence, aches and pains, fatigue. There really is a seemingly endless list.
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How Do I Manage Symptoms Of Postmenopause On My Own
Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:
- Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.
- Regular exercise, meditation and other relaxing activities can help with depression and other side effects of postmenopause.
- Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.
Why Am I Still Getting Symptoms After Being Menopausal
Many women also write in wanting to know why they’re still getting symptoms well through menopause. Remember that once your periods have stopped for one year, you’re officially menopausal. But your hormones just don’t suddenly stop changing after this year has elapsedyour hormonal balance can continue to fluctuate for a good number of years after that.And for some women, this ongoing hormonal change will continue to trigger menopause symptoms. But if it’s been over four or five years since your periods stopped, you should get things checked out by your doctor just in case.Other health issues can creep in and menopause is often blamed for it. A lot of women will try menopausal remedies and find that they don’t really work, but it’s often because, unbeknownst to them, these menopause-like symptoms are being triggered by other health issues. In this situation, it’s really important to get yourself checked out by your doctor because if the issues are being caused by something else, your doctor will help you sort it out, which will make you feel better in the long run.
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How Long Does The Transition To Menopause Last
Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, can last between two and eight years before your periods stop permanently. For most women, this transition to menopause lasts about four years. You will know you have reached menopause only after it has been a full year since your last period. This means you have not had any bleeding, including spotting, for 12 months in a row.
How Do You Know When Menopause Is Over
Going through menopause is anything but easy. All the hormonal changes your body will go through are likely to put you on a physical and emotional roller-coaster.
In the US, women typically enter menopause at the age of 52, but this can vary according to a variety of factors. Theres a chance youll notice that youre entering it, but how do you know when menopause is over?
Well, simply put, youll know that the menopause is over once the symptoms start subsiding or even disappear. So to realize that the symptoms are disappearing, its important to know what those symptoms are in the first place.
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