Ask Sofia: How long will menopause last?
Defined by hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness, menopause is official when your periods have stopped for a full year. It can occur as early as age 40 and as late as 55-plus, but for most women, menopause happens in their early 50s.
And just like every body is different, the length of menopause is, too. Women often start experiencing menopause symptoms during perimenopause, as the ovaries gradually decrease production of estrogen, and this stage alone often lasts around four years. A recent study published in “JAMA Internal Medicine” reported that more than half of women reported symptoms for seven years or longer while some women only experience menopause for a couple years. Generally, the earlier in life your symptoms start, the longer they can last – yet some women report next-to-no symptoms during the cessation of their period.
“As women, we are often planners, but when it comes to menopause, it really varies from person to person,” said Dr. Donna Block. “You know your body best, so you will probably recognize when things are starting to shift. We are always happy to talk about anything that’s going on before, during and after menopause.”
Tracking your symptoms to review with your doctor can help; write down what you’re experiencing and how long it lasts. Exercise, eating well, vitamins and a regular schedule can all help, but if you’re still suffering, talk to your doctor about the best options for you.