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When Does Menopause Start And Stop

How Long Does Menopause Last After Monthly Cycles End

When does Menopause Stop???

Symptoms typically increase during the first year after menopause begins . Hot flashes, chills, mood and sleep issues, and weight gain are all likely to increase during this time period. However, the exact onset of these symptoms can vary, with some women experiencing them during the six years prior to the loss of a monthly cycle. On average, these symptoms can last for around four to five years after the beginning of menopause.

What Factors Influence How Long Menopause Lasts

Although there is a usual range for how long menopause symptoms last, each woman’s journey is unique. The transition often takes about four years, but some symptoms may last longer. There are no hard and fast rules as menopause begins and ends on its own schedule.

What Age Is Considered Early For Menopause

If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.

Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.

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When Do Symptoms Subside

By the time a woman reaches menopause, her body has become accustomed to the new levels of estrogen and symptoms begin to decrease in severity and frequency. After a woman reaches menopause, she enters a stage known as postmenopause. . However, this is completely dependent on the individual, as some women have reported experiencing hot flashes until their 70s.

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Stop The Myths

For our survey respondents, the symptom picture for those with menstrual irregularities that qualify them for the scientific definition of perimenopause is quite similar to the symptom picture for those in the same age group with only minimal menstrual changes, said Dr. Marcie Richardson, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist at Atrius Health in Massachusetts and one of the studys authors.

Rates of self-reported symptoms did not vary significantly between women in the LRS and MT groups. Approximately 40% of all participants in both LRS and MT groups reported common symptoms of menopause, including night or cold sweats, sleep disruption, hot flashes, feeling sad or blue, and feeling easily overwhelmed or less able to cope.

About half of each group reported fatigue and about one-third reported joint and muscle pain, thinning hair, and itchier skin.

Other mood and cognitive symptoms were even more common for both groups. Half of all survey respondents with any symptoms reported feeling anxious and 56% reported feeling irritable. Fifty-four percent reported having a hard time concentrating, and 63% reported being more forgetful.

On the dimension of botherthe degree to which a symptom was bothersomeonly hot flashes had a statistically significant difference between groups. Women in MT were more likely to report being bothered by hot flashes than women in LRS. Every other symptom was equally bothersome to women regardless of stage.

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Menopause Symptoms At Age 45

Around the age of 45 many women enter pre-menopause and start to notice the first signs that menopause is coming. For some women, the symptoms are mild and short-lasting. For others, menopause symptoms can be disruptive and long-lasting.

Some of the earliest signs of menopause may include:

Changes to your period

Period changes are usually the first signs of menopause. For example, your period may start to happen every six to eight weeks. Or you may miss a couple months before it comes back again. You may also have a heavier flow or a lighter flow from time to time.

That said, its important to know you can still get pregnant during perimenopause. So, continue to use birth control in the lead up to menopause as you normally would. Also, if youve missed your period and youre not sure whether perimenopause has started, consider taking a pregnancy test as a first step.

Mood changes

As your hormone levels change, you may find yourself more irritable, anxious, sad or forgetful than usual. Your sex drive can also decrease or increase.

These changes are very typical as your body approaches menopause. So, be kind to yourself, practice self-care and ask for help if youre having trouble.

Sleeping problems

You may find it difficult to get to sleep, or you may wake up in the middle of the night. Sleep trouble can contribute to a constant feeling of tiredness, which can make you moodier.

The Timing Of The Age At Which Natural Menopause Occurs

The age at the final menstrual period holds intrinsic clinical and public health interest because the age at which natural menopause occurs may be a marker of aging and health. Later age at natural menopause has been associated with:

  • longer overall survival and greater life expectancy and reduced all-cause mortality

  • reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and mortality from cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease, stroke, angina after myocardial infarction, and atherosclerosis

  • less loss of bone density, and a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fracture

  • but an increased risk of breast,, endometrial, and ovarian, cancers.

Although menopause is a universal phenomenon among women, the timing of the onset and the duration of the menopausal transition and the timing of the final menstrual period are not. Most of our knowledge and perceptions of menopause have been based largely on studies of white women, and many have been studies of clinic-based, rather than population-based, samples of women. Thus, until recently, much of the knowledge about the timing of the natural final menstrual period has been affected by the nature of the samples of women studied and a number of other methodologic differences in the studies of this phenomenon, which must be considered in comparing and summarizing their results.

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And Keep In Mind That You Can Still Get Pregnant Even After The Menopause Process Starts

Because menopause is defined by not having a period for 12 months straight, when you’re perimenopausal, or transitioning towards menopause, your period may go MIA but then make a comeback at some point. Some people have breakthrough bleeding or periods in between, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And while that doesnt necessarily mean that youve ovulated, it could mean that you have. And that means you could potentially get pregnant.

What’s The First Sign Of Perimenopause

When do periods stop during menopause?

The first perimenopause sign is typically a disruption of your menstrual cycle. For many women, your period starts earlier or later than normal. For example, if your menstrual cycle has always been 28 days, during perimenopause, your period could come as early as 21 or as late as 35 days. Some women start skipping months entirely and then experience heavier-than-normal periods when they do have them.

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Are There Any Risks With Taking Birth Control Pills During Menopause Or Perimenopause

Hormonal contraceptives can sometimes mask symptoms of perimenopause. This can make it difficult to know when youve reached perimenopause. And even after menopause, some women can continue to cycle if they stay on hormonal contraceptives.

As women enter their late 40s, I often suggest they stop taking the pill. This is because hormonal contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clotsespecially as you age. I suggest patients try hormone therapy instead. The lower dose of estrogen decreases risks, but still provides similar benefits as the pill.

Do I Need To Go To My Healthcare Provider For A Perimenopause Diagnosis

You dont always need to see a healthcare provider for a perimenopause diagnosis. Many women notice and tolerate the changes in their bodies without a formal diagnosis. If you have symptoms that interfere with your daily activities, see a healthcare provider.

You should reach out to your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Blood clots in menstrual discharge.
  • Spotting between periods.
  • Emotional symptoms interfering with your ability to function on a daily basis.

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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.

Two common menopause-related symptoms are hot flashes and vaginal dryness. These two symptoms occur as a result of the loss of estrogen in the body, normally produced by a woman’s ovaries.

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

How Will I Know If I Am Starting The Transition To Menopause

When Does Menopause Start And How Long Does It Last ...

Sometimes it can be hard for you and your doctor to tell whether you are in perimenopause, the transition to menopause:

  • Symptoms: Tell your doctor or nurse about any menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping.
  • Irregular periods: Track your periods. Irregular periods may be your first sign of menopause.
  • Hormone levels: Your doctor may test the amount of hormones in your blood if your periods stopped at an early age . Doctors dont usually recommend this test unless there is a medical reason to do so. This is because, for most women, hormone levels go up and down in an unpredictable way during the transition to menopause. So it is difficult to tell for sure whether you have gone through menopause or are getting close to it based on this blood test.

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Should You Get Tested For Perimenopause

The short answer: No.

The blood tests that measure your ovarian reserve are rarely accurate during perimenopause. FSH and estrogen change by the day and throughout the day so they are generally not helpful.

We do consider testing these hormones if you experience perimenopausal symptoms under the age of 45. We generally will also check other pituitary hormones, like TSH and prolactin, if you are experiencing these symptoms prematurely.

Keeping a menstrual diary is generally the best test you can do. This will give you and your OBGYN insight into what your body is doing and for how long.

Any time you experience abnormal uterine bleeding , checking in with your doctor is a good idea to make sure it is normal and that no other work-up is needed.

When Will Menopause Weight Gain Go Away

As you go through menopause, have you found yourself asking questions like Am I going to keep gaining weight forever? or When will my menopause weight gain go away? or Is this just what my body looks like now?

Its totally understandable for you to have questions and concerns about menopause weight gain and how long it lasts. Youre on a hormonal rollercoaster right now, and to top it off youve got extra weight sitting around your midsection. You have a right to be a bit frustrated!

The good news is that menopause weight gain definitely does not last forever. Read on to learn more about how long it typically lasts and to get some tips on how you can stop and reverse it.

As if the hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, and mood swings werent bad enough, now youre also dealing with your waist circumference increasing and extra pounds showing up on the scale. Are you frustrated by menopause weight gain? Are you willing to do just about anything to start feeling like your old self again?

Its easy to think that menopause weight gain will never end. We can assure you, though, that youre not going to continue putting on weight indefinitely. Read on to learn more about how long menopause weight gain lasts, as well as what you can do to stop and even reverse it.

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What Is Perimenopause Or The Transition To Menopause

Perimenopause , or the menopausal transition, is the time leading up to your last period. Perimenopause means around menopause.

Perimenopause is a long transition to menopause, or the time when your periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant. As your body transitions to menopause, your hormone levels may change randomly, causing menopause symptoms unexpectedly. During this transition, your ovaries make different amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone than usual.

Irregular periods happen during this time because you may not ovulate every month. Your periods may be longer or shorter than usual. You might skip a few months or have unusually long or short menstrual cycles. Your period may be heavier or lighter than before. Many women also have hot flashes and other menopause symptoms during this transition.

When To Seek Help

How to know when menopause is over

Its common and normal to experience irregular periods when youre perimenopausal.

However, other conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome or cervical cancer, can also cause irregular bleeding. See your doctor to rule out other causes if you:

  • suddenly experience very heavy periods or periods with blood clots
  • have periods lasting longer than usual
  • spot or bleed after sex
  • spot or bleed after your period
  • have periods close together

Osteoporosis and heart disease are long-term health risks associated with menopause. Thats because estrogen plays a significant role in protecting your bones and your heart. Without estrogen, youre at an increased risk for both diseases.

Youre also at an increased risk of urinary tract infections because menopause can cause your urethra to become dry, irritated, or inflamed. Vaginal infections can also occur more frequently because your vagina has become dryer and thinner.

Report menopausal symptoms when visiting the doctor. Get assessed by your physician if you continue to have menopausal symptoms that are unbearable or last more than five years after your last menstrual period.

Although menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms for some women, this natural process has possible upsides, too. There are several potential benefits of menopause to consider:

You will still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

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Calcium And Vitamin D

A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.

Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.

However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:

Calcium

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.

Are There Any Tests For Menopause

The most accurate way to tell if it’s happening to you is to watch your menstrual cycles for 12 months in a row. It helps to keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Menopause has happened when you have not had any period for an entire 12 months.

Your doctor can check your blood for follicle stimulating hormone . The levels will jump as your ovaries begin to shut down. As your estrogen levels fall, youâll notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and less lubrication during sex.

The tissue in and around your vagina will thin as estrogen drops, too. The only way to check for this is through a Pap-like smear, but itâs rarely done. As this happens, you might have urinary incontinence, painful sex, a low sex drive, and vaginal itching.

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When Do Perimenopause Symptoms Stop

Menopause is a confusing time that affects every aspect of a woman’s life. The hormone estrogen, which many of your body’s functions is dependent upon, is no longer produced in the amount that it once was, resulting in physical and emotional changes. There are many symptoms associated with depleted estrogen levels including mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, depression, and diminished sex drive. Depending on a woman, she may experience all of these symptoms or none and they may be intense or mild. Thankfully, symptoms do not usually last the rest of a woman’s life. Continue reading to learn more about what to expect and when symptoms start to subside.

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