Perimenopause & Post-Menopause

Do you think you could be going through menopause?

Find out whether you might be in perimenopause or post-menopause and how long it could last.

perimenopause and post-menopause

The stages of menopause

Perimenopause

The first stage of menopause is perimenopause – the period of transition leading up to menopause.

During this stage, a woman’s estrogen levels are fluctuating wildly and she may experience many of the common signs such as hot flushes and mood swings.

Her menstrual cycles may be irregular but have not stopped.

The average woman goes through this stage between 45-49 years of age.

Menopause

Menopause itself is only reached when a woman has her final period and we only know about this in hindsight as it is defined as 12-months from your last bleed. This makes the term ‘menopause’ confusing which is why we generally refer to perimenopause or post-menopause at MenoMe.

The last period usually happens between the ages of 45-55 with the average age being 52.

As mentioned above we can’t pinpoint our final period so by the time we know we’ve had our last period we’re already post-menopause.

Post-Menopause

Post-menopause is a time when perimenopause signs begin to subside as a result of hormonal levels stabilising in the body.

However, because of lower estrogen levels, women in post-menopause are at higher risk of certain health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

How long do the menopausal years last in total?

The signs of the meno years can last anywhere from two to 19 years with many women experiencing signs for five years. In fact, women may spend almost half of their lives in post-menopause.

While this is an average natural timeline for most women, there are two other types of peri/menopause which are less common:

  • Premature menopause – when, usually for health reasons, a woman’s periods stop before the age of 40.
  • Surgical menopause – when menopause occurs following surgery such as a hysterectomy.
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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.