Many women want to know if they are menopausal and at what age does it start and stop, so they can prepare. Unfortunately, there is no ideal test that determines when menopause begins or when to expect it.
However there are a number of typical symptoms she can watch out for. There is a test known as the Follicle Stimulating Hormone test (FSH) that can help determine if someone is in menopause. But it doesn’t determine how long the symptoms are going to last and it is dependent on the communication (or lack thereof) between the ovaries and brain.
Historically women can look to their mothers, grandmothers, older sisters, and aunts to determine a pattern for menopause in the family but this is not always the case.
What are the common symptoms of menopause? There are a lot and some women experience them from time to time, all at once, or only a few. Some symptoms come and go while others remain for the entire duration.
It’s a definite time of transition and change. I remind my patients that they are a new person and cannot compare themselves to who they were in their teens, twenties and thirties. Everything is different.
You are entering menopause when ...
Your cycles start to change -- skipping months, coming every two weeks, and being overall unpredictable which is new.
Your bleeding becomes heavier and for more days than before.
You start to experience hot flashes, warm flushes, night sweats, and temperature changes.
Insomnia starts to become a problem -- you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.
Memory (especially short-term) begins to challenge you.
Multi-tasking does not come as easy as it used to.
Abdominal weight gain creeps up into a muffin top that didn’t used to be there (or is getting worse).
Your skin changes -- it becomes drier or oilier.
Joints hurt more and you begin to feel stiffer than before.
Vaginal dryness that causes may cause irritation and pain with intercourse.
A decrease in your sex drive.
Do these symptoms last forever? Of course not, but they may hang around for several years even after your periods stop. Menopause can start as early as 40 years old and run through until 60 years old.
Sometimes the symptoms can feel overwhelming but you don’t have to suffer. Talk with your healthcare provider about options to support this process.
1) Menopause Age Related to When Mom Went Through It. Web. Web. 28 September 2011.
2) Menopause—What's It all about? Web. 28 September 2011.
Reviewed September 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith