When does menopause begin and how long does it last?
Most women first begin developing menopause symptoms about four years before their last period. Symptoms often continue until about four years after a woman’s last period.
A small number of women experience menopause symptoms for up to a decade before menopause actually occurs, and 1 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms for 12 years following their last period.
The median age for menopause is 51, though it may occur on average up to two years earlier for African-American and Latina women. More studies are needed to understand the onset of menopause for non-Caucasian women.
There are many factors that help determine when you’ll begin menopause, including genetics and ovary health. Perimenopause occurs before menopause. Perimenopause is a time when your hormones begin to change in preparation for menopause.
It can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Many women begin perimenopause some point after their mid-40s. Other women skip perimenopause and enter menopause suddenly.
What you need to know about menopause.
Menopause is a permanent end of menstruation and typically occurs in women who are in their late 40’s or early 50’s. It results in a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the ovaries, giving rise to symptoms that include hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness.
It is important to know that menopause is not a disease but rather a phase in a woman’s life cycle. Here are the 10 things every woman should know about menopause.
1 At what age does menopause occur?
The average age for the onset of menopause is 46. A majority of women stop getting their period between the ages of 45 to 55. However, the ovary function can begin to decline years before the actual onset. Some women will even continue to have their periods into their late 50’s. Although the age for menopause is thought to be genetically determined, things such as smoking and intensive treatments like chemotherapy can also accelerate ovarian decline, resulting in an earlier menopause.
2 What’s the difference between perimenopause and menopause?
Perimenopause is the period of time right before menopause begins. It is a transition period during which hormone production from the ovaries begins to decline. Hot flashes and irregular periods are the most common giveaways of perimenopause. Once you stop having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, you’ve entered menopause.
3 What are the symptoms caused by reduced estrogen levels?
Hot flashes are the most common symptom and are experienced by about 75% of women during menopause. Other symptoms include fatigue, trouble concentrating, depression or painful sex due to lack of vaginal lubrication and breast tenderness. Some women may also experience muscle and joint pain (arthralgia) or mood swings.
4 What does a hot flash feel like?
During a hot flash, you will feel a considerable rise in body temperature. Hot flashes affect the upper body and skin, resulting in redness or blotchiness. This sudden rise in temperature can lead to excessive sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. Right after your hot flash, you may also get chills. Hot flashes vary in intensity and typically last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
The stages of menopause include:
- Perimenopause: as you know, this phase begins before menopause
- Menopause: the permanent cessation of menstrual periods
- Postmenopause: menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, can decrease
Common complications of menopause include:
- vulvovaginal atrophy
- dyspareunia, or painful intercourse
- slower metabolic function
- osteoporosis, or weaker bones with reduced mass and strength
- mood or sudden emotional changes
- periodontal disease
- urinary incontinence
- heart or blood vessel disease
Menopause is the natural cessation, or stopping, of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and marks the end of fertility. Most women experience menopause by the age of 52, but pelvic or ovarian damage may cause sudden menopause earlier in life. Genetics or underlying conditions may also lead to early onset of menopause.
Many women experience menopause symptoms in the few years before menopause, most commonly hot flashes, night sweats, and flushing. Symptoms can continue for four or more years after menopause.
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