Menopause can be one of the most challenging phases in a woman’s life. It is made up of 3 stages. In this article, we will identify those 3 stages of menopause. Then we will go further, to pinpoint when the stages start, and what their durations are like. We will also try to highlight some of the things that women experience during the various stages. In so doing, we will be answering most of the questions that women tend to pose within the menopause doctor clinic at private GP.
What are the 3 stages of menopause?
The 3 stages of menopause we are making reference to are:
- The actual menopause and
When does menopause start?
On average, women start menopause between ages 45 and 55. However, there are variations. You may even find some women who are 58, and whose periods are still regular. On the other hand, you may find much younger women who have stopped having periods. Some of these may actually be in the 35 to 45 years bracket.
For women who go into menopause much earlier, this may be due to certain factors. In many cases, it may be due to heredity. So you find that if other women in your family go into menopause earlier, you tend to follow the trend.
Other factors that can cause a woman to go into menopause earlier include:
- Being overweight
- Having chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes
You may find girls/young ladies in their 20s (or even teens) going into menopause. This is ‘premature menopause’. It is the sort of disease that may warrant special attention: say, at an NHS or private GP clinic.
A closer look at the 3 stages of menopause
Let’s examine each of these menopause stages closely, to understand what they actually entail.
The perimenopause stage
This is the ‘in-between’ (transition) phase, as a woman moves from the reproductive age into actual menopause. In terms of its duration, that is typically between 3 and 5 years.
Common symptoms in the perimenopause stage include:
- Hot flushes
- Experiencing pain in the joints
- Having problems with digestion
- Suffering from headaches often
- Experiencing stress palpitations
Now the challenge that tends to arise is in making the association between these symptoms and menopause. For instance, the stress palpitations mentioned above may get a woman deeply worried. It is the sort of thing that can easily drive her into seeking urgent NHS or private GP services. Yet when a doctor runs a battery of tests, everything is likely to come out all clear! So it can lead to great confusion. That is unless and until a link is made between the symptoms and impending menopause.
It is worth noting that the symptoms of perimenopause don’t all appear together. One set of them may manifest at one point. Then at another point, you get another set.
The perimenopause stage is also one in which there are notable changes in periods. They may be somewhat heavier, going on for longer and with less time between them. This is indicative of progesterone being formed faster than estrogen. Or conversely, the periods may be lighter, infrequent, and shorter. This would be a sign of estrogen forming faster than progesterone. Such variations may occur, even within the same woman at different points in time.
We do need to mention that for some women, the transition into menopause is pretty much with no symptoms. Their periods just disappear, without a fuss. And that is it! But most women do go through that agony of perimenopause. Indeed, the related symptoms are the key drivers of women seeing menopause doctor specialists.
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The actual menopause stage
In the simplest terms, menopause is when periods disappear for good. Objectively, we say that periods are ‘gone for good’ if they aren’t seen for 2 years.
Granted, there are some people who say that menopause is when periods aren’t seen for one year. But then we do have cases where periods indeed disappear for 1 year, only to reappear. Thus to be sure, it is best to describe menopause as when a woman goes for 2 years without seeing periods.
Most of the symptoms associated with perimenopause somewhat ease off during the actual menopause. But a few may worsen. Ultimately, how your menopause pans out may depend on factors like:
- The general state of your health
- Your lifestyle
- How well you manage your stress
- The kind of diet you adhere to
Thus proper self-care may be helpful in getting a somewhat better menopause experience.
The post-menopause stage
After menopause (going for 2 years without periods), you enter the post-menopause stage. The defining feature of this stage is the leveling off of your hormones. You thus end up with lower but stable hormone levels.
The good thing about your hormones leveling is that you will also start to feel better, consistently. You may feel not only better than you felt during the peri/menopause stage, but even during the earlier years. This is because most of a woman’s years are characterized by constant hormonal swings. But in the post-menopausal stage, there is hormonal stability: hence a general feeling of wellness. And this is not just with regard to physical well-being, but also in emotional terms as well.
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The menopause experience – Unique for each woman
The menopause experience for each woman is different. That is with regard to both its intensity and length. There are women for whom menopause is lengthy, quite suffering mentally as well as physically. And there are others women for whom it is a very short period before they get into the more stable post-menopause period. You thus need to be ready to ride whatever wave nature hands you in this respect.
Do you feel that you need to see a menopause doctor London specialist? Our Private GP clinic offers all menopause support services.