Every woman goes through menopause during middle age, but not everyone in or approaching menopause gets symptoms. In cases when they do appear, the symptoms of menopause can be cumbersome at the very least and, at most, a daily difficulty.
When severe menopause symptoms strike, they may fool you into thinking they’ll affect you forever (or for at least a few years). Here at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona, expert gynecologist Rachel Speildoch, MD, FACOG, can fill you in on what to expect during menopause and when to expect it. She can also provide reassurance about the impermanency of your menopause symptoms and treat them if they feel unmanageable.
Here’s how long you can expect to endure menopause and the symptoms that come with it:
Many people subscribe to the idea that menopause starts when your symptoms start, but that isn’t the case. In fact, a stage called perimenopause happens first, and that is when most people get symptoms. During perimenopause, your ovaries gradually stop releasing eggs and producing hormones. You still get periods (some of which are heavy), but they become few and far between.
You might deal with perimenopause symptoms for years, even up to a decade, before menopause starts. The beginning of menopause is marked by the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. That happens at an average age of 51, but you can reach menopause as early as your late 30s.
The symptoms that appear as you approach menopause vary, and for some women, they’re so mild that life doesn’t change much during the transition. However, symptoms can also be so severe and long-lasting that you stop feeling hopeful.
During the transition through perimenopause and into menopause, you might experience:
Until you’ve gone the full 12 months without a period, you can still get pregnant. If you’re sexually active, you should continue to use protection during this time.
Menopause lasts for the rest of your life since you never again get menstrual periods once they end. Yet, you may be wondering how long you should expect the symptoms to stick around. The symptoms can last for up to 10 years before your periods stop entirely, but on average they last for around four years.
If your symptoms impact your sleep, productivity, relationships, or any other part of your well-being, McDowell Mountain Gynecology can help. Schedule an appointment over the phone or online to learn more about bioidentical hormones and other treatments for menopause symptoms today.