When Do Signs of Menopause Occur?
When do signs of menopause occur? Menopause is a natural aspect of aging that every woman experiences. Despite its normalcy, the physical and emotional changes associated with menopause can be overwhelming, reminiscent of the puberty stage: “Is this typical?”, “What’s next?”, or “Is there something I need to do?”
Menopause is a highly individualized experience, meaning that the onset of symptoms and their severity can vary widely among women. Nonetheless, specific indicators can often help you determine where you are in the menopausal process.
Being aware of your specific stage of menopause can aid in anticipating and effectively managing symptoms. Additionally, understanding what is considered typical and when to seek guidance from a women’s health specialist is equally essential.
What Are the Three Stages of Menopause?
Perimenopause: The Start of Menopause
Perimenopause, or pre-menopause, encompasses the period leading up to menopause and is characterized by the onset of symptoms. This phase typically lasts approximately 4-8 years before menopause onset. The age at which perimenopause commences varies, with some women recognizing signs in their 40s. In contrast, others experience it as early as their mid-30s.
Upon entering perimenopause, you may experience early menopause symptoms such as mood swings and alterations to your menstrual cycle. These changes occur due to the natural drop of estrogen and progesterone levels in your body. As your ovaries produce less of these hormones, your body adjusts accordingly. Essentially, it is the inverse of the hormonal shifts that took place during your adolescence.
Menopause: Your Menstrual Cycle Ends
Menopause is the particular moment in time when menstruation permanently ceases. The menopausal phase lasts only one year since you transition into post-menopause after experiencing 12 consecutive months without a period. Entering menopause indicates that you are no longer able to conceive. All women will inevitably experience menopause unless their ovaries are removed before puberty.
When does Menopause start?
The average age for menopause onset is around 51 years old. However, the period women experience menopause can vary widely, ranging from their 40s to late 50s. Additionally, some women may experience premature menopause before age 40 due to medical treatments, surgeries, or certain medical conditions.
Post-Menopause: After Menopause
Post-menopause is the period after menopause, established after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. It signifies the conclusion of your reproductive stage, and you will remain in this phase for the remainder of your life. Although your ovaries still generate small amounts of estrogen and progesterone hormones, you are no longer ovulating and cannot conceive.
Following your last menstrual cycle, you may continue to experience menopause symptoms for roughly 2-7 years (sometimes longer), after which symptoms usually become less severe or dissipate entirely.
Post-menopausal women face an increased risk for specific health issues, including heart disease and osteoporosis. You and your primary care physician can collaborate on developing a plan to prevent or manage these conditions.
When Do Signs of Menopause Occur?
Your Early 40s
The onset of menopause symptoms typically does not occur this early for most women. Menopause that arises before the age of 40 is premature menopause. Menopause that begins between ages 40-45 is early menopause. Premature or early menopause affects less than 10% of women.
At age 45, women may begin to experience menopause symptoms as they approach the average age for menopause onset. These symptoms may include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. It’s important to note that not all women experience the same symptoms or severity of symptoms, and some women may not experience any symptoms at all.
In your 50s, menopause symptoms may continue or intensify as your body further adjusts to the changes in hormone levels. Common symptoms during this phase may include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive, insomnia, and fatigue. Women may also experience physical changes such as weight gain, thinning hair, and dry skin. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing significant or disruptive symptoms, as various treatment options are available to help manage menopause symptoms.
When Should You See a Doctor for Menopause Symptoms?
If you are experiencing bothersome or disruptive menopause symptoms affecting your quality of life, it’s time to see a doctor. The first step begins with a simple blood test. Schedule a hormone blood test or free hormone therapy consultation here. Some symptoms, such as heavy or irregular bleeding, may require immediate medical attention.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a time-proven treatment for hormone imbalances for women in Arvada, Denver, and Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Additionally, suppose you are experiencing symptoms impacting your mental health, such as depression or anxiety. In that case, it’s essential to seek medical assistance. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, provide guidance on managing your symptoms, and discuss treatment options such as hormone therapy or non-hormonal treatments. They can also help monitor your health for potential complications associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis or heart disease.