Oftentimes, the burdensome symptoms associated with menopause may seem like they’ll last forever. But not to worry. While most symptoms start off strong, they typically taper off over time and do not last forever. But How long do they last? Read on to find out.
The Menopause Stages and When Symptoms First Appear
The perimenopause stage is when menopause-like symptoms first show up due to the decrease in estrogen and other female hormone levels, causing the menstrual cycle to become irregular and unpredictable. On average, perimenopause starts in a woman’s mid-forties, according to the Cleveland Clinic, although it can occur as early as the mid-thirties.
It’s during this time that many women report starting to have hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irregular periods and insomnia. This pre-menopause stage usually lasts for about four to eight years, although for a minority of fortunate women perimenopause is very brief.
Menopause and Postmenopause
Once a woman has been period-free for over 12 months, she officially enters menopause (on average at age 51). However, smoking cigarettes, having an illness or being in poor health can speed up the onset of menopause.
Menopause brings with it all the many uncomfortable symptoms experienced earlier in perimenopause, including vaginal dryness, insomnia, anxiety, depression and hot flashes. After menopause, a woman is now in the postmenopausal stage for the rest of her life since she is no longer ovulating and getting her period.
So does this mean menopause symptoms last forever? The answer luckily is no.
When Do Symptoms Ease Up?
Not only does lifestyle, genetics, and overall health play a huge factor in when a woman begins having perimenopausal symptoms, it also impacts how long symptoms stick around postmenopause. Race plays a role too. African American women on average experience hot flashes for a longer period than white women.
The good news is that for most women, postmenopause symptoms do begin to lessen and for some people, they disappear entirely. According to the medical staff at verywell.com, common symptoms like hot flashes normally stop after about seven years after their last menstrual cycle, though for some women they can last for up to ten years.
If you’re a postmenopausal woman and your symptoms haven’t let up and you think your quality of life is suffering, it’s probably best to consult with your healthcare provider to see if there is a treatment option out there that can help.