What To Expect When You Go Through the Change
There are many things that are important to know so you can understand what you might be facing when you go through this major life event. And at this point you may not even know what questions to ask!
You can read everywhere that the menopausal transition is a normal part of a woman’s life and not a disease or illness. But when you are feeling the effects of numerous symptoms you don’t feel even close to “normal”.
In our opinion, this is where a lot of the misery comes from: women experience that something is not right; they go to their doctors and in way to many cases are told:
“This is a normal part of getting older and it will go away. If you are really not able to take it anymore here is a prescription for hormones. But keep in mind they are dangerous and you should only take them as a last resort.”
So hopefully though this website, we can give you a little more help during the menopause age.
Here you can find answers to:
- What is menopause?
- When Can I expect to go through menopause?
- How long does it last?
- Are my symptoms normal?
- Where can I find a good menopause doctor?
- Many other Menopause FAQs
You will also find links to much more information about your symptoms, hormones and especially your treatment options.
Just knowing that your symptoms are probably menopause related and not a serious illness, will relief some of the anxiety and stress.
When you understand what you are going through, you can actively manage and look for some appropriate remedies – including the right hormone treatment.
What is Menopause?
When women approach this transition, their hormone levels begin to change. While most hormones such as progesterone and testosterone decline gradually, the estrogen production becomes erratic.
Because most estrogen is produced by the ovaries, after the ovaries shot down, the estrogen production falls dramatically and progesterone levels are close to zero.
The hormonal changes are responsible for your symptoms.
What is the Average Age for Menopause?
Most women go through the change sometime between their 40s and 50s. The average age of menopause depends not just on individual factors but also on where you live.
In the US and most western countries the average age is 51 but in some countries it is earlier than in others. Any age past the age of 40 until about 58 is considered normal.
Smoking is one factor that has been identified to speed up the onset. And women who had a hysterectomy experiencing it on average 3.7 years earlier.
When a woman goes through the change before the age of 40, it is called premature menopause. Premature menopause has many causes. It can be due to certain illnesses but often the reason can’t be determined. Chemotherapy or radiation can also induce the change.
For some women however, it is induced through surgery when the ovaries are removed (oopherectomy) as part of a hysterectomy or other medical procedures.
This so called surgical menopause causes a very sudden and immediate onset of the menopause age with extreme symptoms. Some women experience their first symptoms as soon as they wake up from the surgery.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
For most women who are struggling to get through the change, it starts with the first serious symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, and ends when they feel the beginning of a “new normal” stage.
The average time for women to experience bothersome symptoms is 5.8 years.
But if you don’t follow this timeframe don’t worry – the actual length can vary considerably. So the answer to your question: “How long does menopause last?” is a very individual one.
Here is the link to the article about the stages of menopause.
Are My Symptoms Normal?
“Normal” during the menopause age is almost impossible to define. The signs and symptoms of the transition are unique for every woman.
While most women have at least some of the “classic” signs (hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and vaginal dryness), some women have a considerable number of symptoms. (Unfortunately we fall into this category).
The lucky ones have few if any problems and just breeze through the transition with hardly noticing the change.
Other women are severely impacted by their symptoms. Those women have to look for ways to deal with their symptoms to be able to function. (Look for the treatment information on this website to find the best way to deal with YOUR specific symptoms and situation).
You can find detailed information about the first signs of menopause when you follow the link.
Where Can I find a Good Menopause Doctor?
Your regular health care provider may not be the best option if you have a tough time with the menopausal transition. They don’t have the time or the training to really sit down and talk to you about what you are going through.
A better option is an ObGyn who is more familiar with the effects of hormone changes and what they can do to a woman.
Some larger cities have “Menopause Centers” which is a better option.
Another resource is the database by the North American Menopause Society’s Clinician Database. Just click on the link to find a menopause doctor in your area. (The link will open in a new window.)
A Final Word about the Menopause Age
The information in this article is just a small glimpse of the many aspects of the transition and the questions women have about what to expect. If you can’t find the answer just send us a message and we will do our best to find the answer.
The next step is to find the best treatment options for your symptoms. Or follow one of the inks if you rather find out more about your symptoms before you choose a treatment.