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How Long Do Menopause Symptoms Last?

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

How long will menopause symptoms last?How long will menopause symptoms last?

Menopause is an inevitable stage of life that all women will experience, however, its impact and duration will be unique to every woman. It can encompass as little as a couple years, or it may linger for a decade or more. It can begin to arrive when you are in your 30's, or it may not appear until you are closer to 50 or beyond. For some women it will come with a myriad of symptoms, while for other women symptoms may only be mild and slightly bothersome. How long it lasts and how it affects you can depend on why you enter menopause.

Menopause can be reached in a few different ways. Natural menopause occurs gradually and naturally around the age of 50. Premature menopause can occur at a younger age as a result of illness, surgery, medications, or genetics. Pseudo or chemical menopause can be a temporary state of menopause as the result of medications. Women are considered postmenopausal once they have completed menopause, and during that time period they can find some menopause symptoms like hot flashes disappear.

Natural menopause is a gradual process in which the ovaries stop producing hormones and no longer release mature eggs. Menopause is the end of a woman’s reproductive cycle and fertility ceases at this point. Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading into natural menopause and can last from two to ten years. You may begin to experience perimenopause symptoms in your 30's, but typically perimenopause begins during a woman’s 40's. During this phase, the ovaries can produce erratic levels of hormones which can lead to symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, shortened or lengthen cycles, and mood swings. As your body adjusts and completes this part of the life cycle, symptoms can begin to disappear so that within a few years of natural menopause you are no longer symphonic, or have only a few symptoms.

If you still have your uterus, you will know you are in natural menopause when you have missed 12 consecutive periods. If you have had a hysterectomy, it can be more difficult to track menopause. Blood work and symptom diaries may be needed to monitor your symptoms to try to determine if you are menopausal.

If you have both of your ovaries removed, you will be put into surgical menopause, a type of premature menopause. Because this change occurs instantly, you may find your menopause symptoms are more severe than if you had undergone natural menopause. There is no definite time frame for how long symptoms of surgical menopause may occur and it could depend on your age and other factors.

When considering menopause symptoms, it is important to remember that while hot flashes, night sweats, and the like can be annoying and affect quality of life, there are also health issues that can result from the hormonal changes that are part of menopause. Estrogen is important for the health of a woman’s entire body and aids in physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health. Though women of all ages can be affected by the lack of estrogen, younger women who enter menopause prematurely may face some extra health risks as their bodies require higher levels of estrogen for good health.

Regardless of when or how you reach menopause, your doctor can help you determine how it will affect your overall health and what options are available for managing those risks. Your doctor can also help you manage typical menopause symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. Though menopause can open the door to symptoms which can be frustrating and negatively impact your health, there are several choices available to help you manage this time of your life so you don't have to suffer needlessly.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-30-2014 - 08:00 PM


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