Going through menopause is anything but easy. All the hormonal changes your body will go through are likely to put you on a physical and emotional roller-coaster.
In the US, women typically enter menopause at the age of 52, but this can vary according to a variety of factors. There’s a chance you’ll notice that you’re entering it, but how do you know when menopause is over?
Well, simply put, you’ll know that the menopause is over once the symptoms start subsiding or even disappear. So to realize that the symptoms are disappearing, it’s important to know what those symptoms are in the first place.
Symptoms of Menopause
The age of 52 is just a number based on statistics. Women can enter menopause much earlier, and some of them can enter it far later. This mostly depends on the genetic factors, but there are many other determinants, such as your health and a variety of environmental factors.
By definition, menopause happens when you lose your period for good. Prior to this, you’ll likely notice some irregularities.
Once menopause officially begins, one of the first things that will happen is a significant decline in estrogen. This will cause some changes to your body, so you might experience the following symptoms:
- Sleep issues
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Slowed metabolism followed by weight gain
There are several ways of coping with menopause symptoms. The duration of the symptoms can vary greatly, with some women experiencing them for years.
Once you haven’t had your period for an entire year, you’re considered postmenopausal. So does that mean it’s officially over? Well, not necessarily.
How to Know When Menopause Is Over?
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to recognize the end of menopause by the decline in the symptoms mentioned above. You should start sleeping better, feeling like your old self, and your overall mood should improve.
Unfortunately, many women won’t experience this right away. Your estrogen levels remain low after menopause, so some of the symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes, might last for a long time. So how do you know when menopause is over?
Well, aside from the subjective feeling of wellness, there are many tests you can undergo to see whether you’re postmenopausal. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test has proven itself to be very reliable. It has been confirmed that high FSH levels indicate the end of menopause. For example, a study was able to make a clear distinction between menopausal women, whose median FSH level was 21 mIU/mL, and postmenopausal women, whose value was 57.2 ± 1.4 mIU/mL.
So to sum up: if you haven’t had a period in 12 months and have high FSH levels, you’re very likely done with menopause. Other signs are primarily subjective, but you should notice the symptoms of menopause start to subside.
If this doesn’t happen, you should check with your physician to see whether everything is going the way it should.
Even if you’re feeling good and assume that the symptoms are subsiding, you should always pay your doctor a visit. There are many changes you might have to make once the menopause is over, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for them.
Life After Menopause
First of all, once menopause is over, you can no longer get pregnant, nor will you have periods. It’s essential that any vaginal bleeding that occurs after menopause is examined by a professional, seeing as it’s not normal and can thus indicate a serious health issue.
To minimize the risks, and relieve some of the lingering menopause symptoms that persist after it’s over, many women decide to go with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Even though this seems to be an effective solution, coming off HRT can be quite tough. Once your body has gotten used to an external source of the hormones you’re deficient in, their levels will fall rather quickly. When this happens, you might start experiencing symptoms of menopause all over again.
The good news is that your body should restore the balance after some time. The bad news is that this time can vary, and you might have to go through the symptoms for a while before you start feeling good again.
There’s really no way to know for certain how you might react to HRT and how long it will take for the hormonal balance to be restored. For some women, this might be a smooth experience, while others might not be as lucky.
Another important thing to remember is that you might have to make some positive lifestyle changes after you’ve gone through menopause. One of the most important is a change in your eating habits.
Due to the hormonal changes that occur during and after menopause, many women tend to put on some weight. A good diet will ensure you get rid of any excess weight and should make you feel better overall.
Furthermore, having a balanced diet when you’re postmenopausal can greatly reduce the health risks we mentioned here.
Relaxation is also important as your body will need time not only to restore the hormonal balance but also to adapt to other changes it has gone through. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you ensure that your postmenopausal life is much more enjoyable.
Realizing that menopause is over isn’t always easy. The symptoms can sometimes linger after the process is done, so the best thing to do is to visit your doctor regularly after you’ve stopped having periods for one whole year.
The good news about the postmenopausal life is that you will have a lot of control over the way you feel. You’ll have to work on yourself and adopt a variety of habits you may have never considered before. If you manage to do this, you’ll likely feel like your old self and will have successfully dealt with all the changes your body has gone through as a result of menopause.