As you begin this new stage in life, you may be wondering, “Do menopause symptoms last forever?” It’s a great question, and you aren’t alone in asking this. Let’s talk about how long you can expect symptoms to last.
The good news is that your menopause symptoms are not permanent. However, they can last a very long time.
I’ve actually had patients in my practice experience menopause symptoms for 15 to 20 years.
It’s not unusual to see women who are menopausal, that went through the change in their 50’s, finally become symptom-free. They may then have a recurrence of symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, or fatigue in their mid-60s to early 70s. All the symptoms of menopause are caused by declining sex hormones. When estrogen falls, you’re more likely to have insomnia and hot flashes. As progesterone falls, you’re going to have more anxiety and irritability. Low estrogen can cause low libido and bone loss, while low testosterone can cause loss of lean body mass, like bone and muscle.
Menopause symptoms feel like they last so long because they start during perimenopause. As soon as you start having irregular periods, which means you’re producing less estrogen and progesterone, you’re going to start to see symptoms of menopause.
The perimenopausal phase can last for five to fifteen years, and then menopause symptoms can last a couple of years.
It takes at least two years of not having any periods at all before you can be considered truly menopausal. By measuring your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) you can confirm that you are in fact in menopause. Your FSH is a reflection of how much estrogen you make, and the lower your estrogen, the higher your FSH is. If your FSH is staying well over 30, then you are in menopause. However, menopause symptoms can reoccur again about ten to fifteen years after your last period. I call this “adrenopause” because adrenal glands keep your sex hormones feeling somewhat stable after your ovaries no longer function.
Adrenal glands produce pregnenolone, which is converted to DHEA, then into testosterone or estrogen. These can give you some level of sex steroids, which cushion the rapid decline of your sex hormones and somewhat lessen the symptoms. However, about ten to fifteen years after menopause, your adrenals get worn out too, making less of their own hormones. This leads to “adrenopause” and you’ll become symptomatic again.
Supporting adrenal function is super important to maintain some balance in your sex steroids during and after menopause. The best way to support adrenal function is to support your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus controls all your hormone levels, including your adrenal production. And if your hypothalamus is well supported, you’ll have a better adrenal function.
Supporting your hypothalamus is really crucial because it allows you to transition through menopause gracefully.
You’ll be less symptomatic, and your adrenals are more likely to maintain balance, which will prevent you from experiencing “adrenopause” down the road.
Personally, I went through menopause at about the same age my mom did, in my late 50’s. I’m sure this is because I’ve been supporting my hypothalamus since my late 30’s with Genesis Gold. Now, I have sisters who are younger than I am, and they all went through the change a lot earlier. And even though we share the same genetics and basically live very similar lifestyles, the difference is that I supported my hypothalamus and they didn’t.
We talk a lot about symptoms of menopause in our hormone support group, which you can access through our Hormonal Reboot Training. It’s a great place to have conversations with other women who are also going through the change and get the support you need during this time.