When do periods stop during menopause?

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

21 January 2019

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause I'm going to be talking about when do periods stop in the menopause.

When do periods stop in the menopause? This is one of these areas that's so confusing. There's so much different information out there that so many women are coming to us totally and utterly confused. We've tried to bring everything together to be reasonably understandable, so you might find on another website that they say completely different things, but this is the information that we're going with here.

What age will my period stop?

So what age do your periods start to change as you go towards the menopause? The average age is between 45 and 55, but some women do start younger. Very often, this is hereditary, so, you know, if you can find when your mum, or your gran, or your aunties, or your older sisters started the menopause that might give you a clue as to roughly when you're going to start as well.

Some women do start later. This is not so common but it does happen. Again, you know, if you get to the stage where you're 58 or 59, and you're wondering what's going to happen if you're still getting regular periods, we do advise that you just check with your doctor, but this does happen. And again, very often, that particular age will run in families.

What happens to your periods during menopause?

Now, what basically happens when your periods change? This is one of the first indications that you are starting the road towards the menopause. Your periods can start to change three, four, five years before you hit the menopause proper.
But again, it's going to be different for everyone. You are unique. We are all unique. And we will all have a unique and individual menopause so these figures are just very, very, very average.

What happens when your periods start to change? They can change in a number of ways.

Periods can suddenly stop

For some lucky women, they just stop very suddenly, all at once. It's like, you know, you have a period one month, next month you don't have any, and they don't come back. It's not very common, but this can happen for some women.

Periods get closer together

For other women, their periods will start to get closer together. So instead of 28 days, it can go down to 24, 25 days. Sometimes, these periods get closer together, they can get longer, so instead of being maybe four or five days, they might start to go six to seven days as well. So you've got this phase of periods getting closer together, possibly getting longer, and possibly getting a bit heavier as well at this particular point.

Periods get further apart

For other women, they will find that their periods start to tail off. They get further apart, maybe ending 35 days. You might find that you miss a period and then a period comes back and so on. Periods in this sort of scenario tend to be lighter, tend to be shorter as well.

Periods become irregular

There's a fourth group if you like, and that's where just about everything is muddled together. This is the really confusing one, so for some women, they might find that their periods start to get closer together, so one month they might have two periods in a month, next month they might miss a period, then they might get their periods back normally for two or three months.

They might miss again, they might get shorter, they might get longer, so this is a really confusing one because you never know where you are, you've no idea when your periods are coming. They can just come out the blue or they can miss entirely. With these last three groups, eventually, your periods should start to completely tail off and then stop.

How long do you have to go without a period to be in menopause?

This is where it gets a bit confusing. In some circumstances, you're told that you're through the menopause when you've not had any periods for 12 months. In our experience, we find that quite a lot of women will go that year or year and a bit, and then get a single period back or they restart for a little while.

So our consensus here is that just to be on the safe side, we say that you are through the menopause after not having had any periods for 2 years (24 months). But this timescale, this is only really to do with saying that you're post-menopausal and that you are safe from pregnancy.

A lot of women think that at this point all their symptoms will disappear and they will feel fine, and everything will be back to normal. So this two years without a period really has nothing to do with the symptoms that you're getting, the symptoms you may be experiencing. So for some women, again, after the two years, they will find their symptoms start to ease off, but for other women, this symptom phase can go on for quite a bit longer.

Now, in all these circumstances, I have posted other video blogs that go into these particular circumstances in a lot more detail, so if you want to know more on this, please just click the link. But I just wanted to do one video blog on periods in general as you go through the menopause.

You may be interested in:

How heavy is too heavy for peri-menopause periods?
Heavy periods are common during peri-menopause, but what do you do if you think your period is too heavy?

4 reasons your periods can come back
Have your periods finally stopped, only for them to come back again? I take a look at 4 reasons why your periods might come back.

How to know when menopause is over
How to know when menopause is over, including how long it lasts, what are the signs that menopause is finally over and how you can feel afterwards.

Can periods start again after menopause?

The other question that we often get asked is, "Can periods start again well after the menopause?" This is really not common and very often, there are other health issues involved. So if you have been without periods for two years or a lot longer, and your periods come back, then it's really important to get this checked out by your doctor.

There can be a number of reasons. We've had women who've forgotten that they've had the coil in, and it's been left in for years and years and years, and suddenly, it's starting to irritate the womb and causes bleeding. It can be things like a prolapse where your internal organs can shift and that can cause bleeding as well. So this is one instance where it's really important that you get things checked out by your doctor.

So hopefully this has given you a little bit more information on what exactly can happen to your periods as you start the approach to the menopause. If any of you have any questions on this then please leave your comments and I'll get back to you. And I'll look forward to seeing you next week on another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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