The Menopause Process: What Should I Expect?

Are you wondering if you have symptoms of impending menopause? Or perhaps you’re concerned about dwindling fertility into your ’40s, and want to plan ahead based on when your periods might end?

Most women, at least in the back of their minds, know that eventually they won’t have periods anymore. But unless menopause seems imminent, it remains theory. Until you have real questions, such as menopausal symptoms or trying to conceive after the age of 35.

Here’s what to expect from the phase leading up to menopause, otherwise known as perimenopause. Colloquially, this period of time is known as “going through menopause” but technically the term “menopause” means a complete cessation of menstruation for at least one full year, occurring during midlife. The average age of menopause in the United States – which has not changed since data started to be recorded over a decade ago – is 51.5 years old.  For some women, it can happen as early as their 30’s though.

Perimenopause Specifics

Perimenopause can last a few months, or a few years, and the average is around 4 years.  Here are the symptoms of perimenopause:

  1. Menstrual cycle changes. Menstrual cycles might elongate to the point where you’ve skipped a few months straight. Or, your cycles might be shorter, even as short as two weeks. You might have a longer or shorter number of bleeding days during your menstruation, as well. All in all, perimenopause might you feel like your menstruation is all over the place.
  1. Hot flashes. The classic symptom of perimenopause. You might be going about your day, as usual as ever, when suddenly you feel a sweeping wave of heat wash over your face.
  1. Lower libido.   Due to hormonal changes, you might have less interest in being with your partner sexually. This usually evens out, and can be assisted medically.
  1. Symptoms of worsened PMS. Heavier cramping, breast tenderness, bloating, and mood swings, sometimes before or during your period, and other times seemingly randomly throughout the month.
  1. Fatigue. With the myriad hormonal swings up and down, your body can tire more easily.

Fertility Loss

If you are concerned about loss of fertility, but you have no symptoms of perimenopause, then you likely have a few years until your menstruation will cease. At the same time, fertility issues are complex, so if you are concerned about infertility, contact your Miami OBGYN gynecologist in order to start assessment immediately. At the end of the day, women don’t know how much time they have to conceive, and hopefully have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Why waste time and thereby increase your risk? These days there are so many medical options to deal with infertility, including for women who already have symptoms of perimenopause. Contact Miami OBGYN now for a comprehensive look at how we might assist you.

Planning Ahead

Eventually, all women’s periods cease, and there is no way to slow down the process. Just like you didn’t know when you’d get your first period, you don’t know when you’ll start the process of getting your last period.  You most likely will follow your mother’s and/or grandmother’s pattern, but this isn’t certain either. (Note that smoking does ill-affect ovulation, so if you stop smoking, you might find your menstruation periods easier.) Contact Miami OBGYNS gynecologists for more information.