The 3 Stages of Menopause

What Are the 3 Stages of Menopause?: Katie H Ostrom, MD: Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology

Like every other woman, you will reach a stage where your body experiences a natural decline in sex hormones. Also called reproductive hormones, sex hormones drive sexual development. In females, the primary reproductive hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Naturally, San Antonio menopause marks the end of your menstruation years. By the time you reach your 40s or 50s, your body’s level of reproductive hormones will have decreased significantly and continue to decline until menstruation ends completely. Your menstruation cycle is over when you have not had a period for more than a year.

Before, during, and after menopause, you will experience various symptoms such as hot flashes, sleeping difficulty, breast soreness, low sexual desire, frequent urination, and vaginal dryness. For example, vaginal dryness, also known as vaginal atrophy, is a condition that results from vaginal tissues becoming thinner and easily irritated because your body produces low levels of estrogen.

Consequently, below are the general stages of menopause.

  1. Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the transition period or stage leading up to menopause. The transition to menopause usually starts in your 40s and may last a few months, years, or even ten years. The average age you may begin experiencing perimenopause is 47.

During the last few months or years before the end of perimenopause, there is often an acceleration in the depletion of reproductive hormones. Thus expect symptoms of menopause, such as insomnia, changes in libido, and hot flashes. However, during perimenopause, you still have menstruation cycles, and it is possible to get pregnant.

Perimenopause ends when your ovaries stop producing and releasing eggs for fertilization.

  1. Menopause

Menopause marks the natural end of your regular menstruation and reproductive age. Because there is little to no estrogen and progesterone production, your ovaries stop creating and releasing eggs for fertilization.

You are highly likely to reach menopause when you are in your late 40s or early 50s. You know you have reached menopause when it has taken more than one year, and you have not had menstruation.

  1. Post-menopause

Post-menopause is when you have not experienced menstrual bleeding for more than one year. During this stage of menopause, there is a higher possibility that your symptoms have eased or stopped entirely. But you may have menopausal symptoms for a long time.

You need to stay healthy during and after menopause to relieve symptoms of menopause and avoid the risk of potential complications. Therefore, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and alcohol, maintain a healthy weight, and lower stress levels.

Living a sedentary lifestyle and failing to consume healthy diets after menopause makes you susceptible to heart disease, being overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. For example, osteoporosis, meaning porous bones, is a condition characterized by bones becoming brittle and weak, making them at risk of fracture. A significant decrease in estrogen levels after menopause triggers loss of bone mass and density.

Your menopause specialist may also recommend hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy is a medication that boosts the production and release of female reproductive hormones. As a result, the treatment can relieve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal discomfort.

Contact Aurora OB/GYN today to schedule an appointment with a menopause treatment specialist.