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How long do menopause symptoms last?

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Many women experiencing menopause have questions about the symptoms and the most common is how long menopause symptoms last and when can they look forward to moving past the sometimes troubling aspects of this life stage. Although general estimations can be made, just as each woman is an individual, the symptoms of menopause may vary in intensity and duration.

Perimenopause
Perienopause is the transitional stage in a natural menopause when the body begins to change due to hormonal changes which signal the onset of menopause. The endocrine system is involved as the production of estrogen slows and eventually ceases. This can be marked by irregular periods and other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings and a range of other symptoms. This stage can continue for an average of four years but can be extended beyond six years, and has lasted up to 15 in some women, and in others, only 2 to 3 years. When there is an absence of menstrual cycles for 12 months, this signals the end of the phase and that menopause has been reached.

Age range for the onset of perimenopause
Perimenopause which begins prior to age 40 is considered to be outside of the normal or expected age range for this event to occur. The causes can be genetic factors, disease, or be medically induced by surgeries or treatment with chemotherapy and other drugs. The average age range is somewhere between the mid-40s to mid-50s.

How long will the symptoms last?
Again, this is a natural biological occurrence in women which may be as different as the individual. In general, the symptoms come and go and range in intensity. Most women report that the symptoms will increase in intensity and they decrease for periods of time. Some do not experience intense discomfort during this phase, while others must seek medical intervention to control the symptoms until this stage completes. There is no concrete answer to the length of time that perimenopause will last, nor for the range or intensity of the symptoms.

Duration of hot flushes
Hot flushes are a common symptom which receive a lot of attention from women enduring them. They generally last for a few moments, but can in rare instances go on for up to ten minutes. What makes them problematic for some women is that they can be frightening, bringing on panic attacks with a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and anxiety creating a stress reaction that can lead to increases in anxiety that becomes cyclic. In general this symptom is sporadic and varies in intensity, and may end when menopause is completed, however; the majority of women report that they still have occasional flushes for up to a year after menopause has been reached.

Conclusion
The onset and completion of menopause is a natural biological event that women all face, and generally complete within four years. It's important to understand that these are only averages, and what is normal for you may vary one way or the other. The duration of menopause symptoms is as individualized as the unique women experiencing this phase, and although there is no way to predict the exact duration, troubling symptoms may be addressed with your physician as there are currently effective treatment methods available to help you manage them. Bear in mind that this is a normal part of life, and certainly is nothing to fear.

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