Menopause FAQs: When It Starts, How Long Does It Last?

Menopause FAQs: When It Start, How Long Does It Last?

Women are planners by nature, and most women who are getting anywhere near menopause are probably asking questions like: when does menopause start? How long does menopause last? These questions can be tough to answer in one fell swoop, but this post will help you better understand when you will start to see changes and how long the symptoms will last.

The most commonly cited information gives the average age of menopause as 51, but variations to that average abound for a variety of reasons. Factors such as surgeries or hormonal changes can lead to early-onset menopause, and some women don't report symptoms until they are close to 60.

When does menopause start?

The duration of menopause is very hard to predict, as each woman's situation is vastly different. Women typically start experiencing hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms when they are going through perimenopause. This stage is generally considered part of the menopause period and can last anywhere from 10 months to four years as the ovaries gradually decrease in estrogen production. However, menopause is not considered to have officially begun until a woman misses her period for 12 straight months.

How Long Does Menopause Last?

The window that encompasses the beginning of perimenopause to the cessation of all symptoms is generally between two and ten years, with outliers who go through the transition either more quickly or more slowly than the average. Most women experience their own menopause stage between their mid-forties and their mid-fifties, although some will occasionally report hot flashes well into their 60s. For every scenario, medical professionals are well equipped to assess your particular symptoms and duration and to recommend options that can provide relief when those symptoms interfere with your quality of life.

The Benefits of Menopause

Menopause is often greeted with dread because of the physical symptoms, but as women move out of their childbearing years, they are greeted with a host of new opportunities and potential for personal growth. These years often lead to new professional and personal milestones and allow women to form deeper friendships than they might have when children or early job pressures were monopolizing their schedules. Like adolescence, pregnancy or any other natural physical stage, menopause is often what you make it, and one of the most useful therapy tools if it gets difficult is surrounding yourself with other women who embrace life and face the transition with humor and perspective.

A Common Bond

The Menopause Goddess, blogger Lynette Shepherd, made this point in a May 2014 entry when she recounted a ride to the LAX airport in a Budget rental car van. The driver, a striking African-American woman, asked her passengers if the air conditioning was too cold for them, then caught a glimpse of Shepherd and said, ‘Oh, I don't need to ask you. I know you understand how it is.'" Concluded Shepherd, "Menopause is a singularly unifying experience for all women. It transcends social, cultural, economic, language, and other barriers to bring us together in a flash. Literally."

So if you find yourself wondering, "when does menopause start?" or "how long does menopause last?," you may not be able to find a concrete answer. However, what you can find comfort in is knowing that you are not alone in this journey. Many women have wondered, and are wondering, the same thing. Also find comfort in knowing that there are many things you can do to maintain your lifestyle while experiencing menopause.

Vibrant Voice Ambassador at Replens
The Vibrant Voice Ambassador’s mission is to collect interesting stories and useful articles that are relevant for mature women.  Our goal is to help you maintain an active lifestyle - to Fifty and Beyond!
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