Postmenopause just means ‘after menopause’.1 Once you’ve had a year without any periods, you are considered postmenopausal, but what does that mean for you? Read on to learn all about life after menopause, why it happens, its symptoms and more.
When does postmenopause happen?
The average age for menopause—the day when you haven’t had a period for a year—is 51 years.2 However, it’s still ‘normal’ for menopause to happen anywhere between 45 and 553 and once you’ve passed menopause, you are forever after in postmenopause.
Why does it happen?
Each woman is born with a finite number of eggs in her ovaries. As you age, your ovaries produce less and less estrogen and the number of eggs reduce until you reach the end of your egg supply, meaning you can’t get pregnant naturally anymore. By definition, you’ve reached postmenopause when you’ve not released any eggs, nor had a period, for 12 months.2
What symptoms might you have postmenopause?
You may continue to get all those annoying menopausal symptoms you may have had during perimenopause, even after menopause. Don’t worry if that happens to you, you’re most definitely not alone, also there is light at the end of the tunnel, as most of these symptoms should get better with time. However, for some women it could take a decade or more from their onset for symptoms to go away completely.4
Menopausal symptoms you may still get when you are postmenopausal, include2,4:
Vasomotor symptoms - these are symptoms that occur due to the constriction or dilation of blood vessels, such as:
- Hot flashes - sudden and short bursts of heat, usually in the face, neck, and chest, which can feel like a burning sensation, or make your skin red and sweaty
- Night sweats - these are pretty much the same as hot flashes, except they happen at night. You might wake up to your night clothes and bedding drenched in sweat
- Palpitations - you may notice your heartbeat flutters or feels like it beats too hard or too fast
- Sleeping difficulties - with all those hot flashes and night sweats, are you surprised you can’t sleep at night? This may leave you feeling tired and irritable during the day
- Vaginal dryness - you may notice pain, itching, or discomfort during or after sex
- Changes in sex drive
- Joint stiffness
- Aches and pains
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Hair loss or hair thinning
- Dry skin
- Mood changes
Cognitive symptoms :
- Memory problems
- Concentration problems
Also, when you are postmenopausal the lower levels of estrogen in your body can increase the risk of certain health conditions including osteoporosis and heart disease.4
Fortunately, medication, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), combined with healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of these conditions, but talk to your healthcare provider to find the best options for you.5
Can postmenopause be diagnosed?
If you haven’t had a period in 12 months and want to know if you might be postmenopausal, why not try the Clearblue® Menopause Stage Indicator? It’s really easy to use. After you download the FREE Clearblue® me app, simply test each day the app tells you to (5 tests in total) and input your result. The easy-to-use urine tests check your FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) levels, and the smart algorithm combines your FSH test results with other factors including cycle history and age to indicate your likely menopause stage.
Find out if the Clearblue® Menopause Stage Indicator is right for you.
*A confirmed menopause stage diagnosis can only be made by a physician after all clinical and laboratory findings have been evaluated.
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