Symptoms of Postmenopause

Postmenopause is the period of time after a woman hasn’t had her period for 12 months. Menopause marks the end of menstruation.

The period leading up to menopause is called perimenopause, during which time changes to your menstrual cycle can begin and symptoms can start. These symptoms can continue until postmenopause.

During postmenopause, symptoms can stick around, but are usually less frequent or severe. The most common symptoms during postmenopause are hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and urogenital atrophy, which causes vaginal dryness, urinary symptoms, and discomfort with intercourse.

Common Postmenopause Symptoms

Verywell / Katie Kerpel

Frequent Symptoms

Menopause causes significant changes in your body. Many people experience at least mild symptoms during perimenopause. Research has shown that people usually start perimenopause in their 40s and reach menopause when they are 51 years old.

Symptoms continue after menopause most of the time, but are usually less severe. The following are the most common postmenopause symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal thinning
  • Night sweats
  • Weight gain
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings

Menopause symptoms and length vary from person to person. Hot flashes and vaginal changes are due to the decrease in estrogen levels.

Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of heat in the body and can last up to 10 minutes. Women can experience hot flashes several times an hour, a few times a day, or just once a week.

While each woman has a unique experience, it is most common for some frequent symptoms to worsen with age. For example, vaginal changes, including drying, itching, and burning, tend to worsen with age. On the other hand, some women report feeling the most interested in sex before and after menopause.

Rare Symptoms

There are several rare symptoms of menopause, including:

While rare symptoms are usually harmless, it’s important to check with a doctor if you experience unexpected symptoms. These unexpected symptoms could be a sign of other serious conditions.

Complications

While symptoms of postmenopause can be a bother, it’s a normal part of life. However, after menopause there is a higher risk of complications than at any other time. Complications are also due to dwindling hormone levels.

Common complications of postmenopause include:

Two of the most serious complications to look for are osteoporosis and a rise in cholesterol levels, which can contribute to heart disease. These complications can be managed with help from your doctor and early detection.

When to See a Doctor

It’s a good idea to consult your doctor to discuss the major change of menopause and the options available to manage symptoms.

If your symptoms disrupt your day-to-day life mentally, emotionally, or physically, speak with your healthcare provider. The same goes for if you’re experiencing extreme or unexpected symptoms.

Other reasons to consult a doctor are if you’re experiencing symptoms earlier in life than expected or you’re unsure if your symptoms are related to menopause.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you lose weight postmenopause?

In order to lose weight postmenopause, exercise is critical. Studies have shown that this is the most influential cause of weight loss in postmenopausal women. Other habits that can help you lose weight include eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and practicing stress relief.

What’s the difference between pre- and postmenopause?

Menopause is defined as 12 months after a woman’s last period. Premenopause is the phase before there are any signs or symptoms of menopause, but it’s usually not characterized by any symptoms. Postmenopause is the time after menopause, the years after 12 months of no menstrual periods.

How long does postmenopause last on average?

Postmenopause is the rest of a person’s life after menopause. Postmenopausal symptoms can last on average four to five years.

Summary

People in postmenopause will still experience the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats, but they may occur less often and be less uncomfortable. It’s important to watch out for high cholesterol levels and osteoporosis during this time. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have or if you experience any new symptoms or changes in your health.

A Word From Verywell

Typically, women approach perimenopause in their 40s when they have gone through many changes. Unfortunately, menopause turns all of this upside down and requires a new look at their body. It causes uncomfortable symptoms, and complications may occur.

Menopause can be a trying time, and each woman experiences it differently. Support from loved ones and doctors can help the transition and lasting symptoms be more manageable.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Perimenopause: rocky road to menopause. Updated August 24, 2018.

  2. Jull J, Stacey D, Beach S, et al. Lifestyle interventions targeting body weight changes during the menopause transition: a systematic review. J Obes. 2014;2014:824310. doi:10.1155/2014/824310