When does menopause end? Dr. Santoro says technically, never – but “postmenopausal zest” is the end of bothersome symptoms
The “pause” in the term “menopause” might suggest that this phase of life is brief or temporary, little more than an annoying interruption. The New York Times asked CU OB-GYN’s Dr. Nanette Santoro and Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of Mayo Clinic Women’s Health, about when it begins, ends and how one will know it is over.
Once you go 60 days without bleeding, you’re in what’s known as the late menopausal transition; from here, most women will have their final period within two years. In this stage, “symptoms tend to ramp up, so if they were annoying in the early transition, they get a little worse,” said Dr. Nanette Santoro, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Hot flashes, with possible night sweats, affect about 80% of menopausal women. And when these start early, before the 60-day milestone, that usually means they’ll be longer lasting. “If it begins early, it can be a very long, annoying menopause,” Dr. Santoro said, and given this, “you may want to seek help sooner rather than later.”
About when menopause ends, Dr. Santoro says technically, you’re in menopause for life. But you’ll know you’re done with the changes of menopause when its other symptoms improve. “They just go away,” and some women describe a feeling of “postmenopausal zest” at this stage, she said.