With side effects like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, bone loss, mental health issues, and more, it’s little wonder why women are anxious to get through menopause as quickly as possible.
If you’re just starting your journey through menopause, you’re in good company — more than one million women enter menopause each year in the United States. If you’re wondering how long you’ll be on this journey, the numbers are a little murkier.
The term menopause describes the transition out of your reproductive years, which occurs when your ovaries begin to shut down and stop releasing eggs. Not only do they cease to release eggs, they also wind down production of your reproductive hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone.
We consider the full transition through menopause to be after you’ve had an absence of periods for 12 months in a row. This is an important distinction because you can have irregular menstrual cycles during the lead-up to menopause (perimenopause).
Most women make this final reproductive transition between the ages of 45 and 55, with an average age of 51.
The loss of your reproductive hormones is what drives the side effects of menopause, which can include:
As you can see by this list, the symptoms that can accompany menopause aren’t exactly welcome ones and, for some women, extend far beyond a nuisance and into serious quality-of-life issues.
Now let’s get to the crux of our discussion — how long do you have to put up with menopausal symptoms. On average, menopause lasts about seven years, but it can be double that, or more, for some unlucky women.
Making matters even more complicated, the symptoms of perimenopause, which mirror the symptoms we describe above, but in lesser degrees of severity, can last up to 10 years.
All told, some women can experience hormonal side effects for a decade or more, which isn’t great news if the side effects are moderate to severe.
Where there is good news is in our ability to balance out your hormone levels through hormone replacement therapy to ease symptoms. By supplying your body with lost reproductive hormones, we can lessen the impact of menopause to make your transition a smoother one.
If you’re struggling with menopause and you feel like there’s no end in sight, we invite you to contact our office in Mobile, Alabama, to set up an appointment.