How long does menopause last? Key factors and More

How long does menopause last? Key factors and More

As a middle-aged woman, the imminent arrival of menopause is probably, what consumes your mind. We are all aware of the unmistakable sign of menopause, the absence of the menstrual cycle. But when does it begin? Moreover, how long does it last?

The journey towards menopause begins with perimenopause. Commonly, perimenopause begins at the age of 40-44. This transitory period around menopause can last anywhere between 2 to 10 years.

But how does one know that they are in this menopausal transition?

Well, due to the fluctuating hormone levels, you will begin to notice changes in the menstrual cycle. Cycles may become longer or shorter, your bleeding pattern will change, and you will also experience physical and emotional symptoms.

During the early stage of perimenopause, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion increases, creating a shorter interval between menstrual cycles. As perimenopause progresses towards the late stage, estrogen levels decline, resulting in progressively irregular menstrual cycles with longer intervals between them. The symptoms of perimenopause are the same as menopause, however, due to whatever little estrogen that remains, perimenopausal symptoms are mild and less severe.

Then, at last, arrives the year-long dry spell of no menses, this is known as menopauseDuring this time, you will experience the classic symptoms of menopause; hot flashes, night sweats, dry and itchy skin, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, etc. The average age of menopause is 51 but can occur between ages 40 and 58.

After a year of menopause, you will enter the phase of postmenopause. And this is the final leg of your reproductive journey. Postmenopause is permanent since the ovaries will not regain their function to produce estrogen or progesterone. Frequently, the terms menopause and postmenopause are interchangeable. Therefore, if one is talking about menopause, one might be referring to postmenopause.
But what does postmenopause mean for you? Since your body will no longer produce estrogen, you will continue to experience menopausal symptoms. Fortunately, over time, these symptoms may decrease in intensity and frequency.
But even if these symptoms persist, that does not mean that you will have to endure the consequences of low hormone levels.
So, how can you make this journey of menopause breezier for yourself?
  • Address risk factors that worsen the symptoms of menopause. Factors such as smoking, eating habits, alcohol consumption, or nutrient deficiencies affect hormone levels and thus eventually menopausal symptoms. Foster a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily and exercising regularly.
  • Be aware of the health conditions that are affected by menopause. The drop in estrogen levels increases your risk of other medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and osteoarthritis.
  • Watch out for the emotional and behavioral symptoms of menopause. Menopause increases the risk of anxiety and depression, therefore, it is essential to address declining mental health early on.
  • Deal with insomnia. Many women observe changes in their sleep patterns during menopause. So, to keep your mind healthy, tackle your sleep troubles to try to get a goodnight's rest.
  • Don't be afraid to try hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is the mainstay of treatment for women dealing with persistent menopausal symptoms that decrease the quality of life. Topical creams and vaginal suppositories do wonders to the body, especially for those dealing with vaginal dryness and atrophy. (ultimately improving your sex life)
Once you reach menopause or postmenopause, it will last for the rest of your life. However, that does not mean that you are doomed to suffer this fate. Take charge early on during the perimenopausal phase. Recognize the symptoms of low hormone levels to manage the symptoms timely and take control of your life.


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