Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on Jan 25, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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You’re likely well aware of the term “menopause” and what it means—a woman permanently reaching the end of her menstrual cycles. You may have even heard of perimenopause along with some of its signs and symptoms. However, you may be wondering, “What is the meaning of ‘postmenopausal’?”
In short, postmenopause is an important stage of a woman’s life, coming immediately after menopause.
While at-home postmenopause tests can help you to better understand your menopausal state, it’s important to know the common signs that signal the beginning of this period. Read on to learn more about what happens during postmenopause that makes it different from menopause, how long it lasts, and the treatments that are available to you as a postmenopausal woman.
The best way to answer the question, “What does postmenopausal mean?” is to examine the three stages of menopause.
Perimenopause is the first step of this process. Also known as the menopause transition, this stage will typically begin in your 40s, when your ovaries slowly start making less estrogen. On average, this menopausal transition period can last eight to 10 years, and you will still experience vaginal bleeding during your period. Many premenopausal women can also still conceive during this time, so it’s important to continue using birth control. About one to two years before menopause, your estrogen levels will drop even more and you may start to experience menopausal symptoms. If you suspect you are transitioning to menopause, try an at-home perimenopause test and consider sharing your results with your healthcare provider.
Menopause occurs when you haven’t had a menstrual period in 12 months. Your ovaries are no longer releasing eggs and they are producing much less estrogen. Menopausal women often experience symptoms that range from hot flashes to vaginal dryness.
Postmenopause is the rest of your life after menopause. In addition to no longer having a menstrual cycle, your menopause symptoms may begin to ease or disappear during this time. However, some women will continue to have vasomotor symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes for a decade or longer.
The postmenopause period itself lasts for the rest of your life after menopause. However, how long menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms last varies from woman to woman.
As a menopausal woman, you’ll likely experience symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, brain fog, and weight gain. While some women may be able to put these symptoms in the past, others may continue to experience these and other postmenopausal symptoms due to low estrogen levels.
Some women may also experience vaginal bleeding after menopause due to certain noncancerous conditions.
In rarer cases, postmenopausal bleeding can be due to endometrial, or uterine, cancer. If you have abnormal postmenopausal bleeding, your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and take a medical history. He or she may also order tests like a transvaginal ultrasound or an endometrial biopsy to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan.
In addition to triggering postmenopausal symptoms in some women, the lower estrogen levels can also cause certain health risks. Two of the biggest issues relate to bone and heart health.
You can also help reduce your risk of developing these and other health problems by eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity. Additionally, you should go for regular health screenings, including bone density screening and mammograms for breast cancer screening.
There’s no need to take anything for postmenopause unless you’re experiencing certain symptoms or have a hormonal imbalance. If you’re having bothersome problems like hot flashes or vaginal dryness, you should meet with your healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options.
Learn more about your postmenopausal hormone health with the Everlywell at-home Postmenopause Test, which allows you to easily check your estradiol and progesterone levels from the comfort of home.
Common symptoms of postmenopause
Bleeding after menopause: what does it mean?
Sex after menopause: keeping the heat after the hot flashes
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4. Menopause and your health. Office on Women's Health. URL. Accessed March 25, 2021.
5. Menopause. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed March 25, 2021.