If you haven’t gone through menopause yet -- it’s probably one of those things that you know is coming, but you just don’t know exactly what to expect. How long does it last? How will you know it’s started? When can you finally throw your birth control away?
Along with benefits (bye, bye Aunt Flo!), there are also some less-than-enticing menopause symptoms we’ve all heard about -- mood swings, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. Of course, some women sail right through this time straight into their golden years with barely a single hot flash to slow them down.
But some find it a bit more challenging. Either way, one thing is for sure: knowledge is power! Having a solid idea of what to expect means you’ll feel confident in making the best decisions for yourself and your changing body.
Keep in mind that while there’s a general range of how long it takes to go through menopause, every woman is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all magic timeline. But there is a range!
Want to know more? We can help! Read on to learn everything you need to know about menopause, including how long it lasts, key factors, and more.
Menopause 101: The Basics
Question: How do you know if you are actually in menopause? Answer: It’s when you’ve gone a full year without any monthly periods. This signals what experts consider to be the official end to ovulation. This may mean you can ditch the birth control once and for all -- just be sure to talk to your doctor to get the full greenlight!
Before the actual moment hits -- usually in your early fifties -- you’ll go through a multi-year long phase called perimenopause. This is when there’s a gradual decline of ovarian function. And while the overall trend is that progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone levels are declining, you may have heard that it’s not always the smoothest transition -- one day, your hormones may drop way down, then the next day, they spike way up again -- fun times!
It’s these dramatic lows and highs that cause a lot of the notorious menopause symptoms.
Speaking of Which -- Here Are the Most Common Symptoms
For many ladies, this will be the first telltale sign something is starting to change. Your periods might come closer together, or you might even skip a month or two. They might be lighter or heavier than the norm. They may stretch on for longer or be super short.
Night sweats and hot flashes
These guys are, without a doubt, public enemy #1 for all women going through menopause. While there’s no real answer as to what causes night sweats and hot flashes, a strong theory is that the fluctuations in estrogen cause them, so they’re often more severe during perimenopause when your levels dip and are all over the place. That being said, they can sometimes last for years after menopause. Some ladies only get them once or twice a week, while others can get them multiple times an hour. There’s still a lot that doctors don’t know about hot flashes, but smoking and being overweight may make them worse.
Thankfully, taking a quality supplement like Whole Love ™ 50+ Multivitamin + XOmegas can help you better manage hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Made with a full-spectrum of 25+ vitamins and minerals for your baseline nutritional needs, plus special nutraceutical ingredients that help maintain bone density while relieving some common menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, this powerful supplement is your secret weapon to dealing with menopause.
There is much more than pesky night sweats getting in the way of your slumber -- the sleep center in your noggin is right next to the hypothalamus, which is where your hormones are regulated. The belief is that when your hypothalamus constantly revs up to deal with fluctuating hormone levels, it disrupts your sleep center, and you can’t snooze peacefully. Plus -- not to make matters worse -- the lower levels of progesterone make it harder to not only fall asleep but to stay asleep.
Need help getting a better snooze? Sleeping Beauty from Love Wellness can help. This effective supplement combines clean ingredients to do more than promote restful sleep -- it also promotes relaxation. And let’s just be honest -- we could all benefit from a little more relaxation, don’t you think?
Some ladies might feel like their mood is all over the place-- they are quicker to feel irritable and snap. Others may find it more challenging to focus or remember things. And others may have signs of depression or anxiety. To this day, experts aren’t sure why these changes happen, but they likely have to do with the dropping hormone levels.
Because it’s directly related to estrogen, this symptom tends to get worse the longer you have been post-menopausal. This lack of moisture often leads to a common condition known as dyspareunia, which is pain in the pelvis or genitals during sex. Vaginal dryness can also lead to UTIs and incontinence.
If you’re experiencing some dryness that’s affected your sex life, try a good-quality lubricant -- like Sex Stuff ™ from Love Wellness. This clean lube is free of ingredients like parabens and glycerin that can disrupt the vaginal environment (which can make you even drier). Made with aloe, our personal lubricant is pH balanced to match and maintain your vagina’s pH balance and good bacteria -- super slippery, ultra-hydrating, and a whole lot of fun, too!
Loss of libido
Another symptom of perimenopause and menopause is the chance of a loss of libido. You may just not desire sex as often, and that’s okay! During menopause, your ovaries stop producing testosterone and estrogen, which are linked to sex drive -- so you may not feel the carnal desire as strongly as you used to.
Okay, So How Long Does Menopause Last, Really?
The majority of women tend to enter perimenopause sometime in their forties, with the average age being 47. Perimenopause ends when a woman hasn’t had her period for twelve consecutive months -- this is termed menopause.
It's good to note that perimenopause refers to a period of time, whereas menopause refers to a point in time -- a common misunderstanding that causes quite a bit of confusion. The period of time after menopause is called postmenopause. During this time, a woman hasn’t had her period for over a year -- although she may still be experiencing unfavorable symptoms related to estrogen deficiency.
The average length of perimenopause is roughly four years, so the mean age at which a woman reaches menopause is 51 years old. Of course, though, this is simply an ‘average’ age and doesn’t predict the precise duration of time for any individual woman.
What Factors Influence Menopause Duration and Symptoms?
Good question! Just like pregnancy and puberty, perimenopause begins and ends at different times for each woman. There are so many different factors influencing the timing and experience of perimenopause that every woman will write her own story. Lifestyle, diet, genetics, stress, and even cultural perspective are all elements of when and how dramatically you’ll experience menopause-related symptoms.
With that being said, the vast majority of women will experience their “menopause” in a two- to a ten-year window of time, probably from their mid-forties to their mid-fifties. But even if you begin much later or much earlier, you may still be having your own version of healthy menopause. And whether you never feel a single night sweat or hot flash or continue to have them well into your late sixties -- it can be “normal” for you.
A Final Word
While most symptoms will vanish in the years following menopause, the lower levels of hormones are there to stay, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. It’s a great idea to support your body with a quality Omega 3 supplement, which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, plus many other great health benefits!
It’s also a good idea to take quality supplements like Metabolove from Love Wellness which is a targeted supplement for boosting energy and can even help reduce food cravings.
Menopause is an amazing time in a woman’s life, but it can come with some unique challenges. It’s important to be gentle with yourself as your body goes through these changes. Be sure to boost your energy and balance your nutritional needs with supplements made just for you. We celebrate all stages of womanhood at Love Wellness, and we are here to help!