Postmenopause - What does it mean?

Postmenopause - What does it mean?
Love & Care Yourself 

What is postmenopause?

Postmenopause is a term to describe the time after someone has gone through menopause. When you're in postmenopause, your menstrual period has been gone for longer than 12 consecutive months. At this stage in life, your reproductive years are behind you and you're no longer ovulating (releasing eggs). The menopausal symptoms you’ve experienced in the past may become milder or go away completely. However, some people continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after menopause.

How long does postmenopause last?

Once you enter postmenopause, you're in this stage for the rest of your life. Your hormone levels will remain low and you'll no longer have a monthly period. You can’t get pregnant because your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs.

What hormonal changes happen after menopause?

Your ovaries are making very little of both estrogen and progesterone by the time you're in postmenopause. Some people still experience side effects from low hormone levels.

At what age are you considered postmenopausal?

There is no age at which you are automatically in postmenopause. Once your period has been absent for more than one year, you're in postmenopause regardless of age. On average, people go through menopause around 51 years of age.


What are the symptoms of postmenopause?

Most people in postmenopause feel lingering symptoms from menopause. The symptoms are less intense. In some cases, they almost disappear. Lingering symptoms are caused by low levels of reproductive hormones.

People in postmenopause can feel symptoms such as:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort.
  • Depression.
  • Changes in sex drive.
  • Insomnia.
  • Dry skin.
  • Weight changes.
  • Hair loss.
  • Urinary incontinence.

If your symptoms become more intense or interfere with your daily life, talk with your healthcare provider. They may want to rule out any underlying condition causing these symptoms.

Will my hot flashes stop after menopause?

Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.

How do I manage symptoms of postmenopause on my own?

Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:

  1. Nutrition: Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens (plant-based sources of estrogen) such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.
  2. Exercise: Engage in a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and overall vitality.
  3. Hydration: Drink an adequate amount of water daily to support your body's functions.
  4. Stress Management: Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing into your routine.
  5. Sex-life: Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.


Are there any health risks associated with postmenopause?

People in postmenopause are at an increased risk for several conditions:

Cardiovascular disease

Estrogen helps protect against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. It is also common for people in postmenopause to become more sedentary, which contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors combined can increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular diseases after menopause. A healthy diet, not smoking, and getting regular exercise are your best options to prevent heart disease. Treating elevated blood pressure and diabetes as well as maintaining cholesterol levels are also ways to lower your risk.


People lose bone more rapidly after menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. You may lose up to 25% of your bone density after menopause (approximately 1% to 2% per year). When too much bone is lost, it increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures. The bones of the hip, wrist, and spine are most commonly affected. Bone mineral density testing, also called bone densitometry, can be done to see how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones. The test is used to detect osteoporosis and osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.

Vaginal atrophy

Decreased estrogen levels cause the tissues in your vagina to thin and deteriorate, making your vagina dry. People in postmenopause may continue to struggle with vaginal dryness for years after their last period. Using vaginal lubricants can help ease any discomfort caused by sex. Decreased estrogen levels can also impact the urinary tract and bladder and make leaking urine a problem for some people. Persistent dryness and painful intercourse should be evaluated by your healthcare provider to rule out other conditions. Using lubrication and topical creams or getting laser therapy to the vagina can help with vaginal dryness.

Mental health issues

Many people in postmenopause experience moodiness, anxiety, and depression. This could be caused by stress, sexual tension, or other life challenges that occur during this time. Some people feel sad that their reproductive years are over. Mood symptoms can also be caused by decreased hormone levels. It might help to talk with a therapist or counselor about what you are feeling.

What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis isn’t entirely preventable, but you can take steps to strengthen your bones. Eating foods high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, spinach or fortified cereals can help boost calcium intake. Adding a calcium supplement can also help. Some people also need a vitamin D supplement because it helps their body absorb calcium.

What can I do to prevent cardiovascular disease after menopause?

The best ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases are to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. Conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity are usually related to poor diets and lack of physical activity.

Embrace the Journey

Post-menopause is a phase of life brimming with potential and opportunities. By prioritizing your health, nurturing your emotional well-being, and staying connected to your body, you can embrace this stage with vitality and grace. Remember, every individual's experience is unique, so consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and support or your Menopause Coach Specialist. You are not alone!