Menopause is a normal, natural part of life, a time when your periods stop and you can no longer get pregnant. But just because menopause is normal and natural doesn't mean it's enjoyable or easy. In fact, menopause and perimenopause, which occurs during the years that precede menopause, can cause a wide range of annoying symptoms.
If you're coming up on perimenopause or menopause, you're probably wondering how long those symptoms may last. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that they can linger longer than you think!
Here at here at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, our dedicated care providers understand that facing menopause can cause stress. But don't worry: When symptoms start, you won't be on your own. We'll be with you every step of the way, providing you with the information and the symptom relief advice you need.
Read on to learn more about something that's on the mind of most of our menopausal and perimenopausal patients. Here, we share insights into the types of symptoms you may encounter, including when they may start and how long you can expect them to last.
A variety of symptoms
Let's start with menopause symptoms. The bad news is that the list of possible symptoms is long, but the good news is that many women have just a couple of symptoms—and some have few or none at all.
Common menopause symptoms include the following:
- Breast tenderness
- Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
- Hot flashes
- Memory problems
- Mood changes, including depression and irritability
- Muscle soreness
- Night sweats
- Reduced interest in sex
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
Symptoms may start well before periods stop, during the time known as perimenopause. Perimenopause typically begins in your mid-40s or so. When you're in perimenopause, you may notice that your periods start becoming irregular; this is because of fluctuating hormone levels.
How long do symptoms last?
Perimenopause lasts anywhere from two to eight years, according to the Office on Women's Health; for most women, it continues for an average of four years. It ends when you go one year without a period. That's when you're officially in menopause.
In the US, the average age of menopause is 51, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
There is no easy answer to the question of how long menopause symptoms last, because the length and extent of symptoms varies so widely from one woman to the next. Your symptoms may disappear in a year or two, while your best friend may have to put up with them for several years.
Hot flashes, which are among the more common menopause symptoms, typically last six months to two years, but may hang around for as long as 10 years, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Dealing with menopause symptoms
Fortunately, your providers at Associates in Women's Health have a variety of treatment options to help relief menopause symptoms. These treatments include MonaLisa Touch® laser treatments for vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, or urinary incontinence and hormone replacement therapy for vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms.
In addition, many women find relief with mind/body strategies such as diet change, exercise, meditation, weight loss, taking vitamin supplements, and stress reduction.
Be sure to tell your provider about any symptoms you experience, even if you think they're a normal part of menopause; in some cases, they can be a sign of other health conditions that require evaluation.
You aren’t alone: Support for symptoms
In addition to experiencing menopause symptoms, women see an increase in risk of certain medical conditions in their 40s, 50s, and beyond. With that in mind, our providers encourage you to stay up to date on your yearly well-woman exams, mammograms and screening for breast cancer, and screening tests for osteoporosis.
To schedule a well-woman visit or an evaluation for menopause symptoms, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.