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Symptoms of Menopause for Ages 40 to 65

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With advancing age, individuals do experience hormonal fluctuations. For instance, when individual females get older, they begin to undergo menopause where there are hormonal changes resulting in symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, changes in sex drive, and others.

Every woman experiences menopause differently. By knowing about certain trends in the age of onset of menopause and symptoms usually experienced at that time, women can get some guidance on what they can expect as they become older adults. Before looking at menopause through ages 40 to 65 and what kind of symptoms to expect upon reaching each milestone, here is some basic information on menopause including what it is, why it happens, and its longevity. [1]

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when she has gone 12 consecutive months without her monthly menses- the menstrual periods. It is a part of the natural aging process and indicates the time when she would no longer be fertile to have babies. It happens gradually over a few months or years. Typically, the physical changes that usher in menopause can start in the late 40s or early 50s. However, some women can have sudden surgical menopause when their ovaries are removed surgically. [3]

Why Does Menopause Occur?

Natural menopause is a normal part of the life cycle of females. It happens when there is a drop in the female sex hormone estrogen with age. As a result, the periods become less frequent, irregular, and eventually stop. Officially, women are said to be experiencing menopause when they have passed through one full year without monthly menstrual bleeding, surgical removal of the ovaries, or underlying medical conditions that lead to artificial stoppage of their periods.

Sudden menopause can occur due to overactive thyroid, high prolactin, hormonal birth control, and radiation exposure or surgery of the ovaries.

When there is a decline in estrogen levels, physical changes start to occur as the body normally adapts to hormonal changes. Thus, varied symptoms of menopause appear during each stage of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. [2, 3]

How Long Does Menopause Last?

The symptoms of menopause can start to appear a couple of months or even years before menstrual periods completely stop. These are usually seen for around 4 years after the last period, however, some women even continue to experience symptoms for much longer.

Perimenopause (transition menopause) lasts for about 8 to 10 years before menopause- the time when ovaries have permanently stopped producing eggs while postmenopause remains till death. Smoking along with the age of onset, ethnicity, and race can affect how long perimenopause symptoms stay and when menopause starts. On an average, menopause occurs in women who have crossed mid-age. [2]

Symptoms of Menopause at Different Ages:

1. 40 to 45 Years

Some women go into early or premature menopause, experiencing symptoms between 40 to 45 years or before 40. The signs of early menopause include:

  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Hot flashes- a sudden warmth that spreads over the body. It can result in sweating, a red flushed face, and a child feeling after the heat
  • Missing periods for more than 3 times in a row
  • Lighter or Heavier menstrual flow than usual periods

The above-mentioned symptoms can be confused by women with symptoms of pregnancy or other medical conditions. Thus, it’s recommended to consult a gynecologist for evaluation.

Most of the menopausal symptoms can be alleviated by hormonal therapy. If a woman goes into menopause early, she may not be able to conceive a child.

2. 45 to 50 Years

These age-group women experience perimenopause symptoms. At this stage, their progesterone and estrogen production slows down as the body undergoes a transition into menopause. It’s harder to get pregnant at this time.

Due to falling or rising estrogen levels in their body, they start experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Changes in sex drive (libido)
  • Difficulty in concentrating, temporary memory lapses
  • Urinary issues
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Racing heart
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings
  • Troubled sleeping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Irregular or skipping periods
  • Worsening of premenstrual symptoms
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains

3. 50 to 55 Years

During these ages, women either are in menopause or have just stepped into this phase. At this point, the ovaries of women are not releasing eggs and there is an absence of estrogen hormone. The symptoms commonly seen during this time include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Cold flashes and/or night sweats
  • A loss of energy and Insomnia (troubled sleeping)
  • Dry skin, mouth, or eyes
  • An urge to frequently urinate
  • Increased facial hair growth
  • Vaginal dryness; sex-related discomfort
  • Emotional changes including mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness, and mild depression

4. 55 to 60 Years

By the age of 55, most women have undergone menopause and are in the postmenopause phase. During this time, women still may experience symptoms that they did during perimenopause and menopause phases. The risk of having heart disease can increase in such women.

5. 60 to 65 Years

There is a small percentage of women who get into menopause very late in their life. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Studies report that late menopause is linked with a lower risk of having heart disease, stroke, heart attack, or osteoporosis. Researchers believe that prolonged exposure of the heart and bones to estrogen can protect them. Thus, such women have a greater life expectancy. Menopause in women belonging to this age group do experience hot flashes that are usually infrequent but can be bothersome. [1, 3]

Can Menopause be managed?

Yes, if there are severe symptoms of menopause they can be alleviated! The treatment options include the following:

  • Hormonal replacement therapy: It can be given to patients to replace estrogen and reduce symptoms of menopause.
  • Topical creams: There are vaginal creams that help to alleviate vaginal dryness.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy: This can help with emotional changes like mood changes, depression, anxiety and others. [2]

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References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/symptoms-of-menopause#What-is-menopause?
  2. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/6-things-to-know-about-the-menopause/
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21841-menopause

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