How Long Does Menopause Last And When Does It End?
The hot flushes have probably begun. Chills. Insomnia. Vaginal dryness. And of course, the irregular periods. If you’re experiencing these and other signs, you’re probably wondering how long does menopause last?
To answer this, the best way would be to look at the various stages of menopause. There are 3 stages which are:
- Before (Perimenopause)
- During (Main Phase Menopause)
- After (Postmenopause)
1. What’s Perimenopause And How Long Does It Last?
Perimenopause typically starts in your late 40s. It’s the 3-5 year period preceding the main phase menopause. Perimenopause is characterized by a drop in hormone levels circulating through the body.
When the ovaries cease releasing eggs, the pituitary glands cause a sharp spike (either increase or decrease) in the production of the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and the Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This dramatically reduces the amount of Estrogen and progesterone produced by the body. Symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Vasomotor symptoms (aka hot flushes)
- Elevated heart rate
- Erratic mood changes (depression, irritability, anxiety)
- Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns
- Night sweats
- Urinary incontinence
Perimenopause begins with irregular and erratic menstrual cycles and ends approximately a year after your last menstrual period.
You can still get pregnant during this period, so talk to your gyno about the proper birth control method depending on your symptoms. To address vasomotor symptoms and control menstrual bleeding, Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and some kinds of progestin therapy may be advised.
2. How Long Does Menopause Last and What Are The Signs?
Some medical conditions and procedures may induce the onset of early menopause. These include:
- Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
- Removal of ovaries (Oophorectomy)
- Uterus removal (Hysterectomy)
For normal menopause, the transition from perimenopause, through the main phase menopause to postmenopause will last 12 to 36 months.
You are technically undergoing menopause if you have gone 12 months straight without experiencing your menstrual cycle. This mostly happens when you are in your early to mid-50s. Please note that menstruation may also be affected by illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and some types of medication.
The symptoms for perimenopause continue during the main phase with some disappearing and some increasing in severity.
3. What’s Postmenopause and How Long Does It Last?
Once the main phase menstruation symptoms are gone, you enter into postmenopause. This is a period of relative calm as your hormones have achieved a new balance. Tests to confirm postmenopause will show dramatic increase in FSH levels through a blood test.
The upside of postmenopause is you will regain your energy and be more composed. No more erratic mood swings or insomnia episodes.
The downside is you’ll be more at risk for certain health conditions. These include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Urinary incontinence
Some remedies include Kegel exercises to strengthen and improve your pelvic floor. Hormone therapy may also aid in treating incontinence, urinary tract issues, and vaginal changes.
How Long Does Menopause Last? The Quick and Fast Answer
Most women will go through the menopause stage when they’re between 35 and 55 years. The main phase menopause stage lasts only about a year. The perimenopausal stage lasts anywhere between 3 and 5 years for most women. However, in some cases, perimenopause can last up to a decade.
Menopause is different for each individual and some may show symptoms earlier/later. These symptoms may also last longer or shorter, with some lucky few showing no symptoms at all as they just transition smoothly with minimal discomfort.
While the stages of menopause may feel discomfiting and even inconveniencing, in most individuals they can be easily managed. Diet and exercise offer the best remedies for treating menopause symptoms.
Modern medicine also offers solutions such as Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy to ease the transition and keep you healthier and stronger for longer. Talk to an HRT professional today on advice about how to maintain your health and vitality. Do you have questions or a personal experience you’d like to share about your menopause journey or about bio-identical HRT? Please share in the comments
Talk to an HRT professional today on advice about how to maintain your health and vitality. Do you have questions or a personal experience you’d like to share about your menopause journey or about bio-identical HRT? Please share in the comments
Harvard Health: Perimenopause: Rocky Road To Menopause