Menopause, AKA the Change of Life, is the typical progression of women as we age. It is triggered by the decrease in female hormones, signaling the end of childbearing age. The resulting changes and adjusting of hormones can cause a variety of symptoms such as irregularity and eventual cessation of menstrual periods, hot flashes, irritability, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and weight gain.
The onset of menopause varies from person to person. The average age is between 40’s and 60’s. Perimenopause (pre-menopause) is the early stages of menopause during which symptoms begin, and are irregular. During this time, pregnancy is still a possibility. Post-menopause occurs once the symptoms end.
Monitoring and testing from your doctor can usually identify menopause in its early phases. Early menopause may cause your doctor to treat you with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Prior to HRT, your doctor will want to send you for blood testing. HRT is not routinely prescribed as it used to be, due to the long list of side effects. Long-term HRT has been linked to cancer in some women. So, now, women receiving HRT are followed very closely and only prescribed if needed and often can help with the symptoms of menopause.
How long menopause lasts varies from woman to woman. Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes can last 2-10 years, although 10 years is rare. There is no test to determine when it will end. One thing is for sure, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you live long enough, menopause symptoms will decrease over time.
The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It is NOT to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding this or other medical issues discussed on this site must consult their physician for further information and treatment.