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Hormone Changes During Menopause

Menopause is not a sudden change. During the months or years before menopause (perimenopause), the ovaries begin to run out of eggs. Less estrogen and progesterone are produced. This may bring on symptoms such as hot flashes. Twelve months after your last period, you’ve reached menopause. From that point on, you are in postmenopause.

Image of ovaries in perimenopause, illustrating that if an egg is not released, progesterone is not produced, pointing out that the lining of the uterus is shed irregularly, and estrogen decreases

Perimenopause

In the years leading up to menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen. Fewer eggs are released. Periods become less regular.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Heavier or lighter periods

  • Longer or shorter time between periods

  • Hot flashes

  • Breast tenderness

  • Bloating

  • Mood swings

Image of the postmenopausal ovaries, illustrating that very little estrogen is released, so the uterine lining does not thicken, progesterone is not produced, and no lining is shed

Postmenopause

After menopause, very little estrogen is produced. As a result, the uterine lining does not thicken. Periods have ended.

Symptoms you may have:

  • No periods

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Hot flashes

  • Mood swings

  • Night sweats

  • Insomnia

Surgical Menopause

Menopause can occur after a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) if the ovaries are also removed. Estrogen and progesterone levels decrease quickly. This may cause sudden and severe symptoms.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/1/2008
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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