Menopause comes after a woman has not menstruated for 12 straight months and can naturally no longer get pregnant. Typically it starts between the ages of 45 and 55, but before or after this age range may occur.

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. For most women, medical treatment isn’t needed for menopause.

To understand what  menopauseis, read on.

When does menopause begin and how long does it last?

Most women first begin developing menopause symptoms about four years before their last period. Symptoms often continue until about four years after a woman’s last period.

A small number of women experience menopause symptoms for up to a decade before menopause actually occurs, and 1 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms for 12 years following their last period.

The median age for menopause is 51, though it may occur on average up to two years earlier for Black and Latina women. More studies are needed to understand the onset of menopause for women of color.

There are many factors, including genetics and ovary health, that help determine when you will begin menopause. Prior to menopause, premenopause occurs. Premenopause is a time when training for menopause starts to change the hormones.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE?

Every woman’s menopause experience is unique. Symptoms are usually more severe when menopause occurs suddenly or over a shorter period of time.

Conditions that impact the health of the ovary, like cancer or hysterectomy, or certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, tend to increase the severity and duration of symptoms.

Aside from menstruation changes, the symptoms of pre menopause, menopause, and post menopause are generally the same. The most common early signs of pre menopause are:

  • less frequent menstruation
  • heavier or lighter periods than you normally experience
  • vasomotor symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and flushing

An estimated 75 percent of women experience hot flashes with menopause.

Other common symptoms of menopause include:

  • insomnia
  • vaginal dryness
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory problems
  • reduced libido, or sex drive
  • dry skin, mouth, and eyes
  • increased urination
  • sore or tender breasts
  • headaches
  • racing heart
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • reduced muscle mass
  • painful or stiff joints
  • reduced bone mass
  • less full breasts
  • hair thinning or loss
  • increased hair growth on other areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back

 

COMPLICATIONS

Common complications of menopause include:

  • vulvovaginal atrophy
  • dysparenuia, or painful intercourse
  • slower metabolic function
  • osteoporosis, or weaker bones with reduced mass and strength
  • mood or sudden emotional changes
  • cataracts
  • periodontal disease
  • urinary incontinence
  • heart or blood vessel disease

 




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