One of the oldest questions on the books for women who are approaching menopause, is how long does it last? This can be particularly important for those women who experience a difficult transition through menopause. If symptoms are moderate to severe, or creating discomfort, it's only natural to want to know when relief may be in sight. The answers are not cut and dried, nor is there any way to predict how long it will take for each woman to achieve the completion of menopause. But there are some useful facts and averages that may come in handy.
How long does menopause last?
Menopause comes in three stages. The onset, or beginning of menopause is referred to as perimenopause, completion of the stage simply known as menopause, and the post menopausal stage occurring after menopause has been reached.
On average, the perimenopause stage lasts for approximately four years. But because every woman will experience menopause differently, this can vary. For some women it may be just a few months and for others, several years. Some studies report that from start to finish, menopause can last from 2 to 10 years and still be within a normal range.
The average age of onset is 51 years old. The normal range for menopause is between 40 and 55. Although some women have not started menopause until the age of 60 and beyond.
Menopause has been achieved when a woman has not had a menstrual flow for a period of 12 consecutive months. Some women do continue to experience hot flashes and other symptoms through their post menopausal stage. Although this is less common, it does happen to some.
What to do when symptoms seem to last forever
If you are experiencing extended, intense or frequent symptoms of menopause that are causing discomfort, there are some options available for you. If they make your life less enjoyable, then suffering in silence is not an option. A visit to your family doctor can help you to arrive at the best solutions for your individual symptoms. Treatments can range from vaginal hormone creams and lubricants to lessen sexual problems, to hormone replacement therapy to tackle all of the symptoms.
Treatment options for menopause symptoms
While there is no way to shorten the duration of menopause, there are menopausal treatments available that can help to dramatically ease any symptoms that can be uncomfortable or problematic. Standard hormone replacement therapy as mentioned above, is the most common and effective treatment for qualified women. This method uses synthetically manufactured estrogen to help restore hormonal balances within the body. For women who are not eligible for this treatment due to health history or genetic risk factors, there alternative treatments available.
Natural plant extracts that contain compounds known as phytoestrogens and isoflavones have been found to be effective in helping to control and alleviate the symptoms of menopause. This treatment method carries few if any side effects and little or no risk of long term health complications.
Benefits of menopause
Some women dread the onset of menopause because they have heard horror stories from friends and relatives about the debilitating symptoms that they experienced. While some women do have a terribly rough time, the majority do not. Menopause is a new phase in the life of a woman. It is a period when she has more spare time for herself. In most cases she is no longer busy with the responsibilities of child rearing and chauffeuring children to social events and appointments. Her schedule is now more her own.
In addition to this, if a woman is married or has a partner, there is more time to focus upon one another and the relationship. This is an opportunity to increase and strengthen intimate bonds. Sex can be better than it's ever been because there is no concern for children walking through the door.
On average, menopause lasts approximately four years from start to completion. Because every woman is different, individuals may have different experiences when it comes to the duration. Menopause has been known to reach completion in as little as a few months or as long as 10 years in less common cases. If symptoms arise that are troubling, there are effective treatment methods available to help ease any discomfort.