How Long Does Menopause Last?

First let’s understand how a woman transits through menopause. She goes through perimenopause then menopause then postmenopause.

Peri-menopause refers to the time from the onset of menopausal symptoms to the last menstrual period. These menopausal symptoms include:

  • irregular periods,

  • hot flushes,

  • night sweats or

  • sleep disturbance

Perimenopause can last on average 4 to 8 years.

Typically the symptoms worsen in the premenstrual days. More frequent or heavier periods during this time is not normal and should be investigated.

Women older than 40 years with more frequent or heavy bleeding, or intermenstrual bleeding require investigation by a gynaecologist.

At this time of hormone fluctuation, estrogen levels in the body become erratic and can actually briefly be higher than normal, giving symptoms of excess oestrogen, such as breast tenderness. Eventually, symptoms of oestrogen deficiency predominate.

Menopause is the last menstrual period. One year after the last menstrual period the woman is considered “postmenopausal”.

The average age of menopause is 52. This is only a guide.

Post Menopause starts one year after the last menstrual period. There is no reliable way of predicting how long menopausal symptoms will continue after this.

For many women they resolve within 2-5 years but in a significant proportion hot flushes and sweats go on for many years.

10% to 20% of women will have symptoms for more than 10 years.

Vaginal dryness and urinary frequency may start during the peri-menopause and tend not to resolve naturally with time.

What Are Menopausal Symptoms?

You can use a symptom score sheet to determine the severity of your symptoms.

With this diagnostic tool, you can judge the severity of your own symptoms and record the score.


Score yourself between 0-3 depending on the severity of your symptoms.

1 for mild,2 for moderate,3 for severeand0 if you don’t have that particular symptom. Then total up the score for each of these symptoms:

  • Hot Flushes

  • Light Headed Feelings

  • Headaches

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Unloved Feelings

  • Anxiety

  • Mood Changes

  • Sleeplessness

  • Unusual Tiredness

  • Backache

  • Joint Pains

  • Muscle Pains

  • New Facial Hair

  • Dry Skin

  • Crawling Feelings under the Skin

  • Less Sexual Feelings

  • Dry Vagina

  • Uncomfortable Intercourse

  • Urinary Frequency

How Do I Know If I Am A Candidate To Take Menopausal Hormone Therapy?

By the way HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is now known as MHT (Menopausal Hormone Therapy)

If on the score sheet, you score:

  • 15 or over, that usually indicates oestrogen deficiency, that is intrusive enough to require treatment, but this is only a guideline.

  • 20-50 score are common in women with significant menopausal symptoms

Suitable Candidates:

  • Women experiencing menopausal symptoms

  • Women with early or premature menopause

  • Women with osteoporosis and are under age 60

  • Women within 5-10 years of last period for vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes

Definitely Not Suitable For:

  • Women with breast cancer

  • Blood clots in the veins (VTE – venous thromboembolism)

  • Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding

  • Liver disease- untreated

  • Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure

  • Cardiovascular Disease

With adequate treatment tailored to you, the Menopausal Symptoms score will reduce to 10 or under, in 3-6 months. We aim to half your score after 2-3 months of MHT.

So try out the Menopause Score Sheet. If your symptoms bother you, speak to your doctor. It is not fair that we have to live half our lives in menopause. These symptoms can be managed easily, you only need to ask your doctors.

Our Female Doctors are ready to listen to your issues. Visit us at InSync Medical Located along East Coast Road in the heart of Katong, Singapore. We also open on Sundays to Serve you.

Read Part II

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