This is defined as the stage in the process once menstruation has ended. The menopause has been reached once a year has passed from the date of the last menstrual period.

If you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months following the perimenopause, premenopause and menopause stages then you are classed as having gone through the menopause.

The postmenopause refers to the years which follow after the menopause.

Oestrogen levels continue to fall which increases the risks of health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke and cancer.

The ovaries will continue to produce hormones during this time although this will reduce even further before eventually stopping.

Do the symptoms of menopause continue into this stage?

Most of the symptoms of the menopause such as night sweats and hot flushes will have disappeared by this time. But some of these can persist into this stage of the process.

This can be annoying when you have experienced these symptoms, many of which are uncomfortable and unpleasant to deal, only to find that they remain with you even after you have you gone through the menopause.

Every woman is different in this aspect. Each woman will experience these changes in her own way and at her own pace.

So you may find that you experience some of the symptoms of the menopause for a longer period of time than a female friend or vice versa.

Positive outcome of the menopause

You may be one of the lucky ones and find that your symptoms stop altogether or gradually reduce as you enter the postmenopausal stage. Plus you may find that you have renewed energy levels and a vitality that was lacking beforehand.

Some women feel as if they endured the trials and tribulations of the menopause only to emerge a stronger woman for it. They feel ready to tackle anything which comes their way.

This is a time to embark on new ventures, try new things and live the way you want to live.

Whilst the postmenopausal stage can be viewed with optimism there are few health issues to be aware of.

Postmenopausal health concerns

This is a stage in life in which the choices you make now will affect your health in the latter stages of your life.

Most women live until a ripe old age and if you wish to do so and in a good state of health then it is important that you put things in place to do so.

The body functions less well than when you were younger and is more at risk of illness and disease. This is mainly due to the ageing process but is also attributed to the loss of oestrogen.

Oestrogen performs a variety of protective functions which explains why women are less likely to suffer from heart disease and strokes as compared to men. But once they reach the menopause they lose these safeguards which means that they are equally at risk.

Another problem is that of osteoporosis. A drop in oestrogen means thinning bones which leads to an increase in fractures, e.g. hip or spine.

These issues are discussed in more detail in our health risks of menopause section.

Postmenopausal fertility

Once you have entered this stage you are considered to be no longer fertile. Once you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period then you are unlikely to become pregnant.

But, continue to use birth control during the menopause and after until your GP confirms that you are in the postmenopause. Once he/she does so you can stop using contraception.

If you have any issues with this then see your GP.

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