How Long Will My Menopausal Symptoms Last?

If symptoms associated with menopause interfere with your daily life and simply grow unbearable, we at Capital Women’s Care c

Menopause has a not-so-nice reputation — and for good reason. It can cause seriously uncomfortable symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, brain fog, and weight gain. This transition to infertility affects all women naturally as they get older. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, but the process starts much sooner.

Some women may even transition through menopause sooner due to their genetics, a hysterectomy, or treatment for some cancers.

You’ve actually reached menopause when you’ve gone 12 months straight without a period. Any time before that is known as perimenopause. This is the period when a woman begins to transition to menopause and is characterized by many of the so-called “menopausal” symptoms.

Some women find menopause a simple transition and experience very mild, if any, symptoms. Other women have symptoms severe enough to prove quite disruptive to their quality of life. If you’re going through unpleasant symptoms, you may wonder how long you have to endure them. Explore how menopause changes might affect you.

Why you experience symptoms

Menopausal symptoms — or really — perimenopausal symptoms, develop due to decreased estrogen levels. When your body transitions through menopause, you produce less of the major sex hormone that’s in charge of your reproductive health.

Estrogen also influences the parts of your brain that help maintain body temperature and enhance production of your “feel good” chemicals. Estrogen is important in preserving bone strength and preventing bone loss; it also regulates cholesterol production, which protects you from heart disease. 

This explains why you may feel more depressed, have hot flashes, and be more vulnerable to osteoporosis and heart disease with perimenopause and menopause.

Length of time for symptoms

On average, perimenopausal symptoms last about four years. For many women, the last year or two can see an escalation in symptoms as the drop in estrogen becomes most drastic.

As hormone fluctuations settle down and you’re diagnosed with menopause, that year without a single period, your symptoms usually ease. Despite this, if you’re still having periods — no matter how infrequently — you can get pregnant. It’s important to use birth control if you don’t want to add to your family.

Postmenopause isn’t symptom-free

Once menopause is diagnosed, you’re in the time frame known as postmenopause. Symptoms of the perimenopausal period, such as mental fog and sleep disturbances, should ease as estrogen levels remain low.

The postmenopausal period, then, is a time for increased health risks due to low estrogen production. Women are particularly at risk for heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as urinary incontinence and dementia, after menopause.

What can you do?

If symptoms associated with menopause interfere with your daily life and simply grow unbearable, we at Capital Women’s Care can help. We help women in the Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, areas sail through menopause without major problems. 

You may benefit from lifestyle changes that help you cope, and/or hormone therapy, which restores estrogen levels to minimize symptoms. Call the office or schedule an appointment here on our website to learn how you can make it through your fertility transition as smoothly as possible. 

 

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