How Long Does Menopause Last?

If you've ever wondered how long does menopause last, the answer is probably - longer than you think!


Many women think that their menopause will begin and end in two or three years, starting in their late forties/early fifties.

The reality isn't quite like that. If you ask what is menopause, you'll discover that the transition has a number of phases, and can start as early as your thirties. It begins with those very first slight shifts in hormonal balance which indicate the start of the perimenopause.

Even as early as this, because of perimenopause weight gain, you can start finding that your weight, which was previously stable, starts to creep up, and the extra pounds become harder to shift.

Senior woman walking

This long stage of the transition lasts until the menopause itself - your final menstrual period. The average age of menopause, the last period, is 51, but it may happen considerably earlier, or not until you are well into your mid-fifties.

The age when you first notice small changes to your cycle could be as early as the mid-thirties or early forties. You might notice a change in your cycle, even if it's always been regular as clockwork. The alteration in hormonal levels can be almost imperceptible at first..

Menopause signs generally become stronger as the transition continues, and have more of an impact as you approach the actual menopause and see your last ever period. We are all so different though. Your experience of menopause won't be like anyone else's, and your symptoms may be scarcely noticeable, or quite disruptive to your life. It's impossible to predict.

Even when you've had your last period, and are in the post-menopause, you might still carry on having the occasional night sweat or hot flush (hot flash) or experiencing other menopausal signs. So, although by this stage your menopause is over it could feel as if the whole transition is still rolling along - and this can continue for many years, as some women report hot flashes and so on into their sixties.

How long does menopause last? If you chart the process from the very first sign, and say that it ends when you finally stop feeling those menopausal signs, for some women the answer could be 20 years or more - one-quarter of a lifetime!

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