On the lookout for signs that perimenopause is ending? Here’s what we know.
Ready to say goodbye to hot flashes, sleepless nights, and an irregular period schedule?
Although the end of perimenopause might not necessarily mean the end of all of these symptoms, it’s certainly a big milestone in your menopause journey.
But before we get to the end of perimenopause, let’s start from the beginning:
In this article: 📝
- What even is perimenopause?
- What are the signs of coming to the end of perimenopause?
- What will my last period be like before menopause?
- What happens at the end of perimenopause?
- What signals the end of menopause?
What even is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause.
Menopause is defined as when your period has stopped for a full year.
And after that comes postmenopause.
Perimenopause can start as early as your mid-30s or as late as your mid-50s.
While the average length of perimenopause is four years, symptoms can last anywhere between several months to a decade.
For some, perimenopause symptoms get more obvious the closer you are to the end of it.
And for others — about 15% of us — there are no symptoms at all.
So if you’re looking for signs that perimenopause is ending, well, it’s complicated. Because it’s just not the same for everyone.
That being said, there are some clues your body might give you.
Here’s what you need to know.
What are the signs of coming to the end of perimenopause?
If you get perimenopause symptoms, here’s some of what you might experience — and how they may help you know where you’re at on your journey:
1. Irregular, infrequent periods
This can be a big signal of how close you are to the end of perimenopause.
A change in your periods can be the first sign that something is changing in your body.
Some people might initially experience shorter cycles, periods that come more or less often, and flow that is either heavier or lighter.
You might also experience spotting between periods.
Often, the more infrequent and irregular your periods are, the further along you are on your menopause journey.
If there are sixty days or more between your periods, you’re likely in the late stages of perimenopause.
(If it helps, you can track your periods on a calendar or an app to give you a better sense of how your cycle length is changing.)
2. Hot flashes
Up to 80% of us will go through them.
They feel like a sudden flash of heat spreading from your face through your body and can last up to a few minutes.
3. Interrupted sleep
Finding it increasingly difficult to get a solid night’s sleep that kicks off at a decent hour?
Sleep problems are a common perimenopausal and postmenopausal symptom.
Hot flashes that occur at night — known as night sweats — can be a great cause of discomfort and make getting the zzzs you need more difficult to come by than before.
Although this may be tough, prioritizing your rest is super important — especially since your body is going through a big shift right now.
If you’re feeling a lot more pooped than usual, perimenopause may be the primary culprit.
Some lifestyle changes — such as looking after your diet and/or getting some physical activity — can help fight fatigue.
But often, regardless of how hard you work to stave it off, the fact that your body is going through a huge transformation may leave you feeling tired.
Full permission to rest when you need to.
5. Vaginal dryness
As your estrogen levels drop, you may experience vaginal dryness.
This can make the area in and around your vagina feel sore and itchy, and may cause pain and discomfort when you have sex.
Unlike other perimenopause symptoms, which can be temporary, vaginal dryness can continue well into menopause and beyond.
Talk to your doctor about hormonal treatments. From creams to tablets to vaginal rings, there is help out there.
What will my last period be like before menopause?
There’s no set answer to this one.
Like the other periods you’ve had during this transition time, your final period could be long or short, light or heavy, painful or painless.
One of the more reliable indicators that it’s your final period is the length of your cycle.
A big gap between bleeds is probably the best indicator that they’re soon going to be gone for good.
What happens at the end of perimenopause?
As soon as twelve months have passed since your last period, you’ve hit menopause. And then comes early postmenopause.
And while we define the moment of menopause specifically — twelve months after your last period — it may not exactly feel like a major event for you.
Scientists say there’s no one identifiable moment where it is apparent that menopause has happened.
That means, in terms of your own experience, the line between the end of perimenopause and the early stages of postmenopause can be a little blurry.
What signals the end of menopause?
Once you hit postmenopause, you’re technically reached the end of menopause — even if you can’t shake off all your symptoms just yet.
The main difference between perimenopause and postmenopause is that your periods are well and truly over by now.
(If you do experience postmenopausal bleeding, it’s best to see a doctor and find out what’s going on.)
Everyone’s timeline is a little different, but this early postmenopause stage generally lasts between three to six years.
For some, it can be characterized by a lot of the same hot flashes and sleepless nights that occur in late perimenopause.
And after that? You’re in the late postmenopause stage.
The signs of postmenopause finishing are when your menopause symptoms start to ease off and disappear.
They’ll often become more and more infrequent before they stop entirely.
Once you’re in late postmenopause, you might notice that your sleep improves, your fatigue subsides, and, for some, your sex drive goes up.
Sounds dreamy, right? It can be.
But, sadly, this time is not without its own set of challenges.
Lower estrogen and progesterone production can also lead to:
- Being more susceptible to weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Continued vaginal dryness
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Weakening of bones
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can really help during those postmenopausal years (and those perimenopause years leading up to it).
Where you can, try incorporating physical activity, eating well, and getting the rest you need during this time.
Wherever you’re at on your menopause journey, know that you’re not alone.
Join our community to speak to others who are going through the same thing.
The right support can make all the difference.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know
Hot Flashes: Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do
What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain
Unusual Menopause Symptoms You Might Not Know
Why Are My Breasts Getting Bigger After Menopause?
Menopause and Sleep: What’s the Link?
Menopause and Constipation: What’s the Link?
What are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause?
Testosterone Pellets for Women: What to Know