The Stages of Menopause: How to Know When You're Near the End of Menopause



Throughout our lives, our bodies change. From childhood to puberty to adulthood and possible pregnancy to menopause, our hormone levels are constantly fluctuating. These changes can sometimes be subtle, but more often than not, they’re drastic and can leave you feeling like a stranger in your own body. 


One of the biggest changes that a woman goes through is menopause – also known as the “The Change”. While ominous-sounding, it is a normal phase for all women, albeit fraught with a wide variety of symptoms that may be uncomfortable and certainly foreign.


Menopause doesn’t have to be scary or life-changing, however, if you know what to expect and are able to in some way plan for and understand these changes. The first thing to know is that there are 3 stages to menopause, not just one! as is commonly assumed. And, did you know that the menopausal transition can be as short as 1 year or last up to 14 years? 


Keep reading and we’ll help to demystify the menopausal transition so that you know what to expect as you enter (and embrace!) this new phase of life.


What Are the 3 Stages of Menopause?

The menopausal transition consists of 3 main stages. When people talk about menopause, they’re typically referring to perimenopause which is the first stage and tends to associate with the most “symptoms”. 


The 3 stages of menopause are perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Ironically, although most people refer to the whole transition as just menopause, it’s actually the phase that typically lasts the least amount of time. 


The majority of your menopausal transition will be spent in perimenopause, which can feel a lot like you’re going through puberty again based on the number and intensity of changes that occur in your body. 


However, just like with puberty, this menopausal transition affects all women differently. Some may only experience a few mild symptoms, whereas others may experience not only more symptoms, but an increased severity of symptoms, as well.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the beginning of the menopausal transition and typically starts in your late 30s to mid-40s. For some women, however, it can occur as early as their mid-30s or as late as their late 40s. There seems to be a genetic component as to when your own perimenopause will begin. So, if your mother started early or late, then you may follow this same timeline.


Perimenopause is when our estrogen levels begin to decline naturally, and it signals the beginning of the end of our ability to become pregnant. Some of the most common symptoms of perimenopause include:


  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Declining fertility
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Decline in libido
  • Urinary incontinence


The main herald of perimenopause is when your periods suddenly become irregular. They may occur more or less often, be heavier or lighter, or you may go months without having one. When you have gone more than 12 months without a period, then you are officially in menopause. 

What is Menopause?

After your perimenopausal stage, which can last anywhere from 2 years to 14 years – although it averages around 7, you enter your menopausal stage. This is the 12 consecutive months that you spend without a period although it's not officially diagnosed until this year has passed (Note: ALWAYS consult your physician when periods become irregular; while likely the beginning of menopause, it should be verified by your physician to make sure nothing else is occurring that requires medical intervention.). 


Some women may experience premature menopause because they’ve had their ovaries removed or ovarian function suppressed for some reason.


You’ll most likely already be in your postmenopause phase by the time you are officially declared  menopausal. At the end of this phase, you’ll no longer be able to get pregnant. 

What is Postmenopause?

Postmenopause is the final stage of the menopausal transition and typically occurs by age 51.  In most cases, the symptoms that have bothered you throughout the menopausal transition may finally be coming to an end. 


Once your ovaries stop releasing eggs, you will no longer be able to get pregnant, and you won’t have another period (ever again!). Some women will experience a balancing of hormones, and their menopausal  symptoms will decrease or cease completely.


Others, however, may notice that their symptoms stay the same or even worsen after menopause. This can indicate a potential hormonal imbalance that may   with hormone replacement therapy. 


If your postmenopausal symptoms are worse than they were during menopause, definitely reach out to your doctor to discuss your treatment options. 

What Are the Benefits of Menopause? 

Most women look at Menopaue with dread, but there are some potential “benefits” that come with menopause, or more specifically postmenopause including:


  • No more periods! 
  • No more PMS symptoms!
  • Your memory may improve without your hormones wreaking some havoc.
  • Fibroids typically shrink after menopause and your symptoms should improve.
  • Your sleep may improve, and the insomnia that you experienced during perimenopause should disappear. 
  • Endometriosis symptoms significantly improve, and for some women, may disappear entirely. 
  • Some hormonal headaches, including migraines, may significantly decrease.
  • Many women experience more energy, less fatigue, and more enjoyment out of life when their hormone levels have balanced post-menopause. 


Menopause isn’t the end of the world, and it’s definitely not the end of your adventurous years. Embrace this new stage with its inherent benefits and freedoms!

How to Treat Menopause Symptoms Naturally? 

You should always discuss what you think is menopause with your physician. Once verified as normal, there are some at home things that you can try to lessen any discomfort that you may be experiencing.

Dietary Changes

Vitamin D and Calcium may help offset the natural bone loss and fatigue, and be sure to incorporate more fruits and vegetables to lower your risk of heart disease. 


Cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and excess sugar from your diet may be helpful for some women. This can help prevent headaches, mid-afternoon crashes, hot flashes, and mood swings. Keep a food diary to see how certain foods affect your body and sleep schedule. 


It’s also important to remember to drink plenty of water every day. While that number varies from person to person, the general recommended guideline is 8 glasses of water per day. Try drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up and carry a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go to remind yourself to hydrate. 

Exercise More

Everyone knows how important exercise is and it’s hard to overstate the benefits of regular physical activity. The great thing about exercise is that you can get the benefits in as little as 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. 


So how does exercise help menopausal symptoms? It can improve energy levels, sleep, and metabolism as well as improving joint and bone health and decreasing stress levels. 


In addition, exercise can help improve your overall health including your cardiovascular health, and reduces your chances of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. 

How Long Does Menopause Last? 

Although menopause only lasts for 12 months, the entire menopausal transition can last anywhere from 2 to 14 years. Once you’ve entered postmenopause, you’ll be in that stage for the rest of your life. 


Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to speed up or shorten the transition – it takes as long as it takes. If you are experiencing symptoms that are impacting your quality of life, however, you don’t need to assume that you just need to “suffer through”!


Talk with your doctor about your symptoms. There are several medications available and lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce the severity of your symptoms. 

What Are the Signs That Menopause is Coming to an End? 

As you are approaching your twelfth month without a period and your menopausal transition is coming to an end, you may notice that you’re starting to feel better. Your lethargy, insomnia, and brain fog may not be as severe, and you may notice that you’re starting to have more energy.


The best part is that as the years go by in post-menopause you should notice your energy levels, mental clarity and focus, and sleep all getting exponentially better as time goes on. Many women feel sharper, more focused, and more confident in their post-menopausal years than at any other time in their life. 

Are There Any Menopause Symptoms That Never Go Away? 

Most symptoms of menopause lessen with time as your hormones rebalance themselves. But there are certain symptoms that can linger, particularly when it comes to intimacy post-menopause. 


Nearly 50% of women experience vaginal dryness, vulvar dryness, thinning vulvar skin, a decrease in natural lubrication, and discomfort during sex after they have gone through menopause. Using a daily vulvar moisturizer or a water-based lubricant can help with these symptoms.

Why Is a Vulvar Moisturizer Important For Postmenopausal Women? 

One of the easiest and most effective postmenopausal treatment options for many of the discomforts that come with aging and hormone changes is to use a daily vulvar moisturizer. 


Our VMagic Vulvar Balm is fragrance-free, all-natural, and soothing.

Used daily, it will help to restore lubrication, prevent friction and tearing, and relieves dryness and irritation that often accompanies the post-menopausal stage.


Love yourself at every age and stage!

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