Your cycle is beginning to become abnormal, how long will it take for your menses to stop?
The period of time between the beginning of menstrual changes and complete cessation of bleeding is called the menopausal transition. It is a time of irregular bleeding, unpredictable cycles, and often hot flashes and mood changes. Many women would like to know what to expect, and often the timing is very difficult to predict.
The SWAN Study (Study of Women's Health Across the Nation) used menstrual calendar data
to analyze a number of factors and how they influence the timing of onset and duration of the menopausal transition.
Here are some of the trends. The earlier a woman begins the transition, the longer it will take, with an average range of 4-10 years. Beginning the transition earlier was related to a longer duration of hot flashes. Smoking was associated with an earlier transition and a shorter duration. African Americans trended toward longer transitions, while women who were overweight often started to transition at a later age. Older age at the onset of the menopausal transition often suggested a shorter duration, with an average of 3-6 years.
Cycle length was related to age at transition. Women with longer cycle length on average trended toward beginning the transition later, as women with shorter cycles transitioned earlier.
Since women who begin the perimenopause at a younger age take longer to transition, and may have more vasomotor symptoms, it makes sense to treat these women for bothersome symptoms. If irregular bleeding is a problem, oral contraceptives provide hormonal and cycle control, as well as contraception, since irregular cycles do not translate into lack of fertility.
Menopause, Volume 24, Number 2, February 2017
Duration of the menopausal transition is longer in women with young age at onset: the multiethnic Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation
In the January, 2017, issue of Menopause, the Journal of the North American Menopause Society , Dr. Saiji Karinkanta of Finland discussed exercise and its benefit on aging. She cited a study from Germany. Menopausal women were assigned to two different groups. In the study group, the women were followed for 16 years, and maintained a workout program that involved two home training sessions per week, and two supervised group sessions. The control group exercised as they had been. The exercise group was found to have 53% less fractures, and 63% less fall related fractures. It was emphasized that strength training and balance exercises were important to add to the training of older adults.
When assessing cardiac risk factors, they found that the exercise group had better numbers when they evaluated total cholesterol, HDL, systolic blood pressure, treatment for hypertensions, and smoking status. It is thought that high-intensity training is beneficial to heart health.
The variety of the exercise components was stressed, recommending strength and balance training, endurance and high-impact jumping activities. Interestingly, they also found that the exercise group had less back pain that the control group. Dr. Karinkanta concluded that regular multicomponent exercise is a helpful tool for motivated middle-aged women that clearly decreases fractures and risk factors for cardiac disease, and should be promoted as part of a healthy life style.
Yesteday - like everyday - I met two more women just like us: We're searching for basic, clear, reliable answers to what's going on in our bodies. From doctors telling us we need hysterectomies (because nothing else has worked, so why not try that?) to women wanting to know more about any relationship between various HRT options and cancers, we're all trying to get straightforward information, and we can't find it.
I even met a husband yesterday who said he wished Menopause Pro existed 5 years ago so that he could have read it and understood more of what what happening to his wife - and their marriage.
In January, the North American Menopause Society recognized the urgent need for a tool like Menopause Pro by stating that better education for providers AND patients could be provided through, "...the availability of a reputable, comprehensive, unbiased and up-to-date interactive portal that provides tailored information to help women better understand their options, risks, and benefits related to the management of a variety of menopausal symptoms..." That's us; that's why we're here.
Marilyn and I are embarking on this journey with you because we, too, need this information and were frustrated that every website spoke to our "inner goddesses" and our doctors didn't have time or the expertise to help us understand our choices and take back control of our lives. We needed Menopause Pro and, evidently, you do,too. And so do your friends. And so do their husbands...
What to expect when you're NOT expecting anymore is just as important as what to expect when you are since we're, on average, going to live more of our lives in a post-fertile, post-nesting and family-raising space. We have acquired talents, education and experience, relationships, and financial resources, and we're ready to move on to make a lasting impact. Create our own legacy. We can't let our biological upheavals get in the way of our relationships, next steps and next successes.
So, stay with us and share your suggestions on how Marilyn and I best build this community and resource for us. Tell us what you need to know and we'll get the answers because you're asking the same questions millions of other women are asking. We need smart answers are we want to take back control. Menopause Pro is yours to use and give you the tools you need to thrive.
Our love and hugs to you all,
Julie and Marilyn
"Give a development dollar to a woman and 90 cents of it goes to the good or her family and the community," said Cheri Blair of the Cheri Blair Foundation for Women. Men's returns, by contrast, are typically HALF as effective.
This is huge.
Powerful women - especially older, more experienced women - can control their own economic destiny and can literally change the world. Nancy Gibbs wrote a powerful piece in December's Time magazine on this issue and she's exactly on point: We're primed at this point in our personal and professional lives to be impactful and legacy-focused.
We have the resources, contacts and time to devote to girls' education and create a culture of empowered (not entitled) cohort. This is a paradigm shift in women's thinking as to their potential before, during and after menopause led by us.
We are the first generation of college educated women living more of our lives in post-fertile (read: nest-building) years than in child rearing ones. We have an opportunity to change the world - literally. If we're better able to direct financial investments than men and achieve higher returns, our impacts are limitless.
So, take stock of your acquired skills, strengths, economic situation and decide where you want to make the most difference, whether it's by investing in a local angel investment group or jumping into worldwide opportunities and needs and making your mark there. Your strategy will reflect your passions and your appetites - and the next generation of women around the world are ready for us to lead them into a new future.
Watch Cherie's video and read Nancy's full piece here: Why Powerful Women Are Good for the World Economy