What Is The Significance Of Late Menopause?
In one sense, late menopause is only a definition. The majority of women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. Some however, go through menopause between 55 and 60, and in a few rare instances later, and are said to experience late menopause.
If one woman goes through menopause at the age of 54, and another at the age of 56, one would not expect any drastic differences in what the two might experience. In fact, the 55 year old woman fits into both camps and could be said to go through either a normal or a late menopause. Arguments aside, regarding what may be somewhat artificial age boundaries, the term late menopause does carry some significance. There are both risks and benefits associated with late menopause. Menopause does not affect all women the same. Some go through this period without any significant problems or changes in lifestyle, while others can have a difficult time of it. The same holds true for late menopause.
Symptoms Of Late Menopause - As far as symptoms of late menopause are concerned, they are not significantly different from those associated with normal menopause except they are occurring later in life, and for that reason may have a different impact on the person affected. For example, a woman experiencing hot flashes at the age of 60, might worry that such a condition is a very abnormal one for her age. The fact is, close to 85% of all women experience hot flashes during menopause, and whether one is 45 or 60, the symptoms can still occur. A 45 year old may accept hot flashes as something to be expected, while a 60 year old may not.
Other menopause symptoms, such as mood swings, sore breasts, irregular or heavy vaginal bleeding, and depression, can easily be seen as being out of place for a 55 to 60 year old woman, so she may react to one or more of these symptoms differently than a 45 year old would.
What is happening of course for any age group that menopause, defined as going one year since the last menstrual cycle, is characterized by a lowering of levels of the natural sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. It is these changes in hormone levels that, while affecting every woman, can have somewhat different outcomes for those who have experienced late menopause. In this respect there are some risks involved, as well as some benefits.
Benefits And Risks Of Late Menopause - The two main risks women who go through late menopause face are an increased risk of breast cancer, and an increased risk of uterine or ovarian cancer. Preventive measures can be taken for both these risks by having regular medical checkups after the age of 55 if one is still menstruating. On the other side of the coin, women who have late menopause have a lower risk of coronary disease, and may experience some of the other risks relating to menopause, such as osteoporosis, at a later stage in life, simply because their estrogen levels have remained higher for more years than is the case with the average person. Put another way, late menopause benefits the bones.
One needs to be a little careful about making too much of a distinction between normal and late menopause. While there are some health issues as noted above, there are emotional issues as well. It is important that late menopause not be regarded as an abnormality. It is simply a natural phase in a women's life that is happening a bit later than for the average person, and there is really nothing abnormal about it.