No one can give you any definite answers about exactly how long menopause will last or what symptoms you will experience, because there are so many different factors that come into play that can influence the menopause. Some of these factors are family history, overall health, views on aging, racial identity and lifestyle choices. For example, smokers usually enter into menopause a few years earlier than non-smokers. Although your mother s and grandmother s menopause experience may not be the perfect indicator, it may at least give you some small idea of what to expect. However, this only accounts for genetic factors; it doesn t take into consideration other important factors such as weight, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, exercise habits, stress levels and whether you get enough sleep. There are potentially so many different things that can influence menopause that it s really hard to quantify.
Natural menopause usually happens when most women reach their early to mid 50s, but it can happen as early as 40 years old and as late as 65 years old. Menopause is the last day of a woman s last period, prior to this there is a phase leading up to menopause called perimenopause. Perimenopause starts several years prior to menopause and usually last about 5-7 years. It s during perimenopause that hormone fluctuations first begin to occur, the production of estrogen and progesterone begins to fluctuate, at times it may be higher or lower than normal. Since these hormones are responsible for controlling ovulation. Ovulation is when women drop a mature egg to be potentially fertilized. Prior to perimenopause, this happens on a 28 day cycle, making it possible for a woman to get pregnant virtually every month. Once perimenopause is reached and these hormone changes start to take place, ovulation no longer happens on a regular 28 day cycle, some months it may happen, while in other months it may not. Once ovulation is impacted it s during this time that fertility levels slowly begin to decline. It s still entirely possible to get pregnant during the perimenopause phase, but it does become increasingly more difficult.
So, depending on a variety of factors, the entire menopause process including perimenopause typically lasts 5-8 years, but this is just an average. Some women are very fortunate and get no menopause signs" at all, these women may only experience irregular bleeding and declined fertility, while other women experience extreme hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia and have a much more difficult transition. Definitely things like getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising can benefit all women as they go through these dramatic hormonal imbalance" changes.