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How Long Does Menopause Last?

Menopause is a normal, natural stage of life for all women, and it occurs when you stop having your period. Every woman experiences menopause differently — some have severe symptoms, while others have minor symptoms, and some have a longer battle than others. 

Menopause signifies the end of your reproductive years. But how long does menopause last? Does it ever end? Do you have symptoms for the rest of your life?

The expert OB-GYNs at North Texas Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates are here to clear up all of those questions and more.  

Perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause

Let’s make sure to put aside some misconceptions held by many people (even women who actually go through this!) regarding what menopause actually is. Menopause is the middle phase of a three-part process: preceded by perimenopause and followed by post-menopause

Perimenopause is the pre-menopausal stage. This is when you start to transition to menopause, and it’s when you might develop some or all of those unpleasant, gnarly menopause symptoms. You know: hot flashes, disturbed sleep, weight gain. The works. 

Menopause is defined as going 12 months in a row without menstruating — you reach menopause when you haven’t had your period for a year.

Post-menopause starts after you reach menopause, and to be honest, not much changes for most women. You’re in post-menopause for the rest of your life after you reach menopause. You’ll probably be ecstatic that you aren’t dealing with perimenopause symptoms. 

Many women find relief in no longer having to worry about birth control — it’s scientifically accepted that post-menopausal women can’t get pregnant without medical intervention. 

How long does menopause last?

Technically, menopause itself is just a moment in time: When you reach that 12th month without a period, you reach menopause. And just like that, you’re into post-menopause. 

The real question, then, is how long does perimenopause last? This is what most women are worried about. Perimenopause varies in length for all women, but it lasts for about four years on average. 

The symptoms begin to ease during menopause and post-menopause. Some research shows that perimenopause can begin as early as 10 years before menopause.

Perimenopause typically starts in your 40s, but some women may experience the first signs of perimenopause in their late 30s. Most women reach menopause by their early 50s. 

Some women may experience early menopause due to medical procedures, such as a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). “Sudden menopause” can occur with removal of the ovaries. 

If you need help dealing with menopause symptoms, schedule an appointment with an expert OB-GYN today. Call North Texas Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates at our Plano, Texas, office at 469-240-1866. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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