The big change is here. Hot flashes, dryness down there, irregular periods, sleepless nights. It is no wonder one of the first questions that comes up once menopause makes her way into someone’s life is, “How long will this last?” Before we can address that question, it is essential we are clear about how we are defining menopause. In this article, when we refer to menopause, we refer to the era that encompasses perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Our hope is that the transition into this evolution becomes one you can embrace, thanks to holistic lifestyle changes and our trusted line of supplements, and we understand the desire for as much information as possible. The good news is that none of the phases of menopause last forever. The even better news is that menopause is an opportunity to become acquainted with your body like never before. There’s much to understand about the various stages of menopause and how long you can expect this season to stick around.
The Phases of Menopause: Perimenopause, Menopause, and Postmenopause
There's three phases of menopause. The first is perimenopause, the earliest phase. The heat of the transition (no pun intended) takes place during menopause, which is technically the second phase. The final phase, when the transition for your body begins to ease, is postmenopause.
Perimenopause can begin up to 10 years before menopause fully kicks in. For some, that means perimenopause can begin as early as their 30s, but most women start to enter perimenopause in their 40s. This first phase of the menopause trio begins when the body produces less estrogen, thus lowering your internal hormone levels. You'll notice irregularities in your menstrual cycle as an early signal that perimenopause is on the way. If you've had a hysterectomy or are receiving a treatment that contributes to decreasing estrogen in your body like breast cancer treatment, you can estimate that perimenopause will come fairly soon after. This is often referred to as "sudden menopause."
Menopause is when you don’t have a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. According to the North American Menopause Society, the average age of menopause for women is 51 years old. Your menopausal symptoms kick in and often peak during perimenopause while the actual phase called “menopause” will likely bring a leveling out of symptoms. After those 12 months are up, you'll be in the postmenopause phase. In the spirit of positively managing expectations, we'd be remiss to not recognize that some symptoms may stick around during the postmenopause. Fret not, this is all a part of the process and manageable with the right tools and support. It is also worth mentioning that pregnancy can happen during menopause, so it is best to stay on birth control until you've been without a period for at least two years.
What to Expect: Symptoms of Menopause
Speaking of symptoms, there's a few you can expect to experience during menopause. One of the first symptoms you'll notice during the perimenopausal transition is irregular periods. You know your body best, so you'll know if your period is off - perhaps it is coming later or your number of menstruation days is fluctuating . Consider this your first signal and the perfect time to consult your women's health provider for more support. Note that while perimenopause is an early stage of menopause, it is different from early menopause. Early menopause refers to entering menopause prior to age 45 and premature menopause refers to those who ease into that perimenopause phase before the age of 40.
Next up is vaginal dryness. Ugh, we know. We developed our Daily Vaginal Lotion as the answer to all the irritation vaginal dryness brings. It comes with an ergonomic applicator that delivers fuss-free relief right to your intimate pain receptors. Vaginal dryness can cause itching, irritation with activity and even painful sex, so the earlier you treat it the easier it can be to manage.
Hot flashes and night sweats are two other symptoms that tend to crop up during perimenopause and can persist into postmenopause. Due to your fluctuating hormone levels and lowered estrogen levels, your internal thermostat (also known as the hypothalamus) becomes dysregulated and goes into overdrive when your body experiences minor fluctuations in temperature. This leads to intense heat waves flooding your body, leading to sweat and a sense of inflammation throughout your body. You may want to try our Sleep Supplement as a way to combat night sweats and to get the rest you need during this phase.
Mood changes are another aspect of menopause that can feel challenging to deal with . Thanks to hormonal changes, you may feel that you swing from happiness to sadness or experience unexpected irritability. While challenging, this is yet another signal of the menopause transition.
Thankfully, our Core Dietary Supplement tackles the seven most prominent symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, night sweats, disrupted sleep, and stress. Folks report seeing a significant improvement of symptoms within 30 days of regular use. If your biggest concern is the night sweats and disturbed sleep, then our Sleep Enhancing Dietary Supplement is probably the perfect fit for you.
How Long Do Symptoms Last?
Here's the good news: The intensity of hormonal changes through menopause do not last forever! On average, perimenopausal symptoms last for about four years. These symptoms may feel intense, but they'll soften as you enter the months following your last period. Some symptoms, like hot flashes, will hang around well into the postmenopausal era. As a whole, you will begin to feel relief as you advance into the menopausal era. With the right tools and support, these menopausal signals should feel manageable. If you’re finding that the symptoms of menopause are feeling quite intense into your postmenopause phase, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider for more support.
All the Women's Health Intel You Need: Treatment Options and Lifestyle Changes
There's options galore available to make the chapters of menopause an enjoyable season in your life. The key is to create a lifestyle that not only eases menopause symptoms, but also wards off other midlife health ailments, like heart disease and weight gain, for your best era yet.
Avoid spicy foods, monitor your caffeine intake, and limit how much alcohol you're drinking to minimize hot flashes. Opt for breezy outfits in breathable materials to help keep you cool whenever a hot flash does arise. In this era of COVID-19, look into a silk mask to help keep your face cool and others safe. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), meditation, and mindfulness can help ease mood swings.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn't an option for everyone, but it is an option for some nonetheless. Those with preexisting medical conditions are at an increased risk when it comes to hormone replacement therapy, so don't be afraid to opt for holistic options to keep things as safe as possible. Be sure to meet with your healthcare provider to discuss all aspects of hormone therapy before deciding if that is the route you'd like to take.
Create a self-care routine that incorporates a regimen of supplements, application of the Daily Vaginal Lotion to offset vaginal dryness, and time to connect with yourself through mindfulness. It is time to invest back into you - you deserve it. In the long run, taking care of yourself is an investment you'll never regret.
Keep up a healthy diet full of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and plenty of water. This is a good time to adopt a regular exercise regime as well. Weight loss can help decrease the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats in those who are carrying excess weight. Both of these supportive measures can not only make the menopausal transition a bit smoother, but can also protect against heart disease and diabetes. Finally, take a peek at our offerings. We have supportive supplements for anyone weathering this change.
Our Reminder to You...
You're never alone. There's no shame in our game and we're through with the culture of silence around a natural occurrence all women experience. We created a Facebook group for women like us. It is a safe space to explore all things related to the midlife evolution - from navigating support for mood changes to brainstorming ways to bring spontaneity back to intimacy, we're here for each other every step of the way. We'd love to have you join us.