How Long Does The Menopause Last?

Strictly speaking, the menopause is defined as going 12 months without a period (or 24 months for women under 50), but most women consider it as a much longer period of time, which relates to the time within which they experience menopausal symptoms. The menopause is a natural process, which is associated with ageing, but there is no set formula and one woman may have a very different experience to another woman.

Typically, menopausal symptoms tend to become noticeable between 45 and 50 years old; however, it is possible for signs to develop earlier or later. The average age for the menopause is 51 years old.

The process, which precedes the menopause, is known as perimenopause and this usually lasts around 4 years; however, again this can vary and some women will only have symptoms for a few months, while others will have them for up to 10 years. At this stage, the levels of oestrogen are dropping and you start to notice symptoms, which tend to become more severe in the last 12-24 months before menopause. Common symptoms include hot flushes, irregular and infrequent periods and night sweats.

Once you go through menopause and you have your last period, it is common to continue experiencing symptoms and this can last at least 12 months.

Every woman is different and it's hard to put a time-frame on menopause, but the average woman experiences menopausal symptoms for around 6-10 years; often, symptoms may be mild and many women go through the entire process without any need for formal treatment; however, help is there if you need it.

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