Hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness - they’ve all been linked to menopause but how long does this last, does it ever end, and will your sex life recover after menopause? It can be difficult to see the end of your journey when you are in the midst of it, but your symptoms will ease and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Menopausal symptoms can start months and even years before you reach menopause - usually, the effects are felt for around four years during this menopausal transition. However, each woman’s journey is unique and although there is a usual range for how long menopause symptoms last, you may find your symptoms last longer than usual. Menopause has its own schedule, and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why yours last as long or short as they do.
Menopause is split into three phases as follows;
- Perimenopause is the transitional period of menopause - when you first notice the changes in the menstrual cycle and symptoms related to the decline in estrogen. Most women enter perimenopause in their 40’s - this usually ends when a menstrual cycle hasn’t been had for 12 consecutive months.
- Menopause marks a point in time in which a woman has not had her period for 12 months and is no longer ovulating.
- Postmenopause refers to after you have not had a menstrual period for over a year, but you are experiencing the physical changes related to the lack of estrogen.
Factors that might influence menopause
Although for some women there is no reason, for others there are contributing factors that influence menopause duration and symptoms. Just like puberty and pregnancy, perimenopause begins and ends at different times for everyone, and can loosely be traced back to your family history.
Genetics, lifestyle, diet, and health are all elements of when and how dramatically you will experience menopause-related symptoms. And family history is a particularly reasonable predictor of when you will go through menopause and how long it will last.
How long do the symptoms last?
The symptoms last around 4 years from your last period, however, some women can experience them for up to 12 years.
Common symptoms of menopause:
- Hot flashes
- Memory loss
- Night sweats
- Low mood and anxiety
- Vaginal dryness caused by the thinning of the vaginal wall
- Reduced sex drive
These symptoms are down to the lack of estrogen in the body, but the timing of them means that they could be just a natural part of aging. If your menopause-related symptoms are causing you anxiety or negatively impacting your day to day it is important to seek help from your doctor. There are plenty of treatments such as hormonal therapy or changes in your lifestyle that will combat the slew of menopausal symptoms. You should also seek support from your loved ones, whether a family member or your partner, talking about menopause can minimize the stress of going through it alone.
Does menopause ever end?
Once you hit the year milestone you’ve technically made it through menopause, but that also marks the beginning of postmenopausal life. Symptoms can linger and the low estrogen levels can cause you long-term problems if you choose to ignore them. However, you can ease your postmenopausal symptoms with simple changes.
Making lifestyle changes can help you manage the low estrogen levels, doing activities such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and stopping smoking can help relieve symptoms and lower your risk for future health problems.
Estrogen is naturally present in many foods - so you can supplement a healthy diet with plant-based foods to help elevate your hormone levels. Food such as dried fruits, kale, tofu, beans, sesame seeds, and olive oil can all help elevate your estrogen levels and ease symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment known to relieve symptoms of menopause by replacing your lower hormone levels, if you are interested in HRT contact your GP and they will help choose a suitable treatment. For many women, HRT is a lifesaver, especially if they can not naturally manage estrogen levels with lifestyle changes.
How do you know menopause is over
Your symptoms will ease and might even stop altogether. You will begin to feel more like yourself, and your gut instinct will tell you it’s over. There is no defining moment of menopause ending, and for some, the symptoms may last due to the ever-changing movement of your hormones. These hormonal changes will continue to trigger menopausal-like symptoms, even though you have gone through menopause!
There is light at the end of the tunnel, your symptoms won’t last forever and you can experience a sex life that is healthier than ever before with MysteryVibe!