Women who are enduring the various symptoms related to menopause often wonder how long does menopause last.
Description of Menopause
Menopause is the stage in a woman's life when hormone levels begin to decline as the ovaries stop producing eggs. The estrogen and progestin levels can fluctuate, causing noticeable changes in a woman's body and moods. Woman who were once anxious to be rid of their monthly cycle now have a whole other set of symptoms with which to contend.
The following are examples of common signs of menopause:
- Night sweats-hot flashes that occur in the evening.
- Skin flushing-skin may become rosy and warm. This symptom is aggravated by spicy foods and caffeine.
- Hot flashes-menopausal women find it difficult to stay comfortable due to rapid changes in body temperature. You may see a woman peel away her clothing only to pile it on again later.
- Insomnia-described as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Decreased libido-due to the drop in hormone levels, a woman's desire for sex may decrease.
- Irregular menstrual periods-cycles may change, gradually lessen and then disappear altogether.
- Vaginal dryness-the hormone loss in menopause can cause vaginal dryness and irritation.
- Fatigue-women may become more easily exhausted, especially those who find it difficult to sleep at night.
- Mood swings-changes in moods and bouts of depression are common in menopause.
- Menstrual changes-some women's menstrual cycle stops suddenly, while other experience gradual changes. Typically, periods become more closely- or widely-spaced. Irregularity can occur for several years before menstruation ceases.
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms. Many other strange side effects are reported in menopause. In addition, these signs may vary form woman to woman, some noticing slight changes, while others are overwhelmed with the effects.
How Long Does Menopause Last
For many women, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. However, the changes that occur before and after occur in various stages known as:
- Perimenopause-the phase that occurs anywhere from two to eight years before the end of a woman's period. The bothersome symptoms resulting from hormone changes emerge in perimenopause. A woman may still become pregnant in this phase.
- Menopause-the period after a woman's menstrual cycle has ceased for approximately 12 months. The symptoms that once plagued women may disappear, only to be replaced with other symptoms, such as hair thinning and bone loss.
- Postmenopause-the stage that follows the above changes and may cause physical or emotional discomfort in some women.
Self Care Measures for Menopause
Just as a woman's menstrual cycle is an inevitable occurrence, which is neither convenient nor comfortable, menopause is another unavoidable circumstance maturing women must face. Certain self-care measures may help you deal with the symptoms and improve your overall health. The following are examples of things you can do:
- Eat a low fat diet to help you counteract any weight gain
- Exercise regularly to maintain physical strength and improve your mood
- Take calcium or vitamin D to prevent bone loss
Coping with menopause and the accompanying symptoms may be more difficult for some woman than others. The strain and aggravation may leave you asking "How long does menopause last?!" Talking to your doctor about treatment options and other women who have been there may help.