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Menopause symptoms: How long do they last?

Published on:12 May 2021, 11:40am IST
Menopause is an intrinsic part of ageing, and occurs when women stop having their periods. It's a gradual process in which the duration of symptoms varies from person to person.
Aayushi Gupta
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how long do symptoms of menopause last
The symptoms look different for everyone. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Menopause is a normal and a manageable part of a woman’s life. It is a stage in a woman’s life that marks the end of the menstrual cycle. If you stop menstruating and have had no periods for 12 months, you’ve entered the menopausal stage. Most often, it occurs when a woman is between 45 and 50 years. But every woman’s menopause is different, and so are its symptoms.

Menopause occurs in three stages:
  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • Postmenopause

The symptoms of menopause usually start when a woman’s estrogen levels begin to drop. It typically happens three to five years before menopause starts; this is called perimenopause. Perimenopause can start up to 10 years before you enter menopause. Sometimes, people get confused between menopause and perimenopause. 

Some of the common symptoms of perimenopause include:
  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness

Perimenopausal symptoms can last for up to four years on average.

how long do symptoms of menopause last
Menopause is an inevitable part of a woman’s life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here’s how long menopause symptoms last

The answer is not simple, because perimenopause can last for up to 10 years. On the other hand, you enter menopause when you cross the 12-month mark, without a menstrual period. If you’ve crossed the 12-month mark without experiencing a period, you’re now postmenopausal. Don’t be surprised!

According to a study published in JAMA, menopause symptoms last for an average of 4.5 years, following a person’s last period and 7.4 years in total. But you are premenopausal, until you cross the 12-month mark without a menstrual period.

These are some symptoms of menopause:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal changes
  • Night sweats
  • Emotional changes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Cold flashes

In the perimenopause stage, you might experience breast tenderness, heavier or lighter periods, dry skin, eyes, or mouth, and worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Sorry to break it to you, but these all symptoms can continue well into your postmenopausal years as well. Also, weight gain, headaches, racing heart, hair loss, as well as muscle and joint pain are common.

how long do symptoms of menopause last
Stay healthy during menopause. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You can experience any of these additional symptoms throughout your perimenopause, but hot flashes typically occur at the onset of perimenopause.

Here’s how you can deal with menopause:

Menopausal symptoms can be treated or managed in a number of ways, mainly through medication and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes include avoiding spicy foods, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and stress, because all these activities can trigger hot flashes. Eating a healthy diet and staying physically active can help with several menopausal symptoms, including weight gain and mood swings.

But if your menopausal symptoms cause anxiety or have a negative impact on your quality of life, please discuss them with your doctor and take care!

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.