The menopause cycle marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. It’s caused by a decline in estrogen production in the ovaries that eventually comes to a virtual halt. Throughout this decline, women typically experience a collection of symptoms, alone and in combination, that may range from mild to severe, creating conditions that interfere with daily living.
While most of these symptoms resolve, it could take years. There’s no way to predict how long your symptoms will last, so if you’re suffering from the effects of menopause, schedule an examination with Christopher Serrano at Serrano OBGYN, an experienced and caring obstetrician/gynecologist who can help you manage your menopause symptoms.
Three stages of menopause
Natural menopause occurs in three stages. These are:
It’s possible for you to have menopausal symptoms in all three phases. The most common are usually hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, and these can start when you’re in perimenopause. You’ll still have periods, but they may become irregular in timing, duration, and intensity. Perimenopause can begin as early as 10 years before you enter menopause, but the average is about four years.
Menopause itself is defined as the point 12 months after your last menstrual period. You may have sudden menopause if your ovaries are removed surgically, such as when part of a hysterectomy. Without your ovaries, you immediately lose estrogen production. The average age for menopause is 51.
Postmenopause refers to the time after you reach the menopause threshold. Symptoms tend to decline as you advance through the postmenopause years, but there are only general patterns and every woman has her own experience.
How long do menopause symptoms last?
Perhaps the most common and often the most disruptive symptom of menopause, hot flashes are sudden feelings of flushing and heat that can last a few seconds or run much longer. For some women, hot flashes are barely noticeable while for others, these temperature events can bring life to a standstill. Usually starting in perimenopause, hot flashes could last more than 10 years, but most women experience these for half that time, about five years after menopause.
Some other menopause symptoms may follow the pattern of hot flashes, as your body adjusts to the change in hormone levels. Other conditions, such as osteoporosis and thinning hair, are potentially lifelong and may progress as you get older. The abnormal and irregular periods of perimenopause stop as you reach the menopause stage.
There are a variety of treatment options that help you manage those symptoms that interfere with your health and daily life. Many of the heaviest issues respond well to hormone replacement therapy, and Dr. Serrano recommends BioTE® bioidentical hormone pellets for managing symptoms like moderate to severe hot flashes.
Contact Serrano OBGYN. to discuss your symptoms at any stage of menopause. You can call the office directly or schedule an appointment using the online link on this page. There’s no reason to simply live with the symptoms of menopause. Book your personal consultation today.