Hesperian Health Guides

When monthly bleeding stops (menopause)

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 13: Growing older with a disability > When monthly bleeding stops (menopause)

Usually monthly bleeding stops gradually over 1 or 2 years, most often between 45 and 55 years old. This happens because your ovaries stop making eggs, and your body makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Women with Down syndrome often stop their monthly bleeding earlier than other women.

  • Your monthly bleeding changes and you may bleed more often for a while. Or you may stop bleeding for a few months and then bleed again.
  • At times you may suddenly feel very hot or sweaty (‘hot flashes’).
  • Your vagina may become less wet and smaller.
  • Your feelings change easily.

These signs will start to go away as your body gets used to less estrogen.

a woman removing a loose jacket.
If you have discomfort during the end of monthly bleeding (menopause)

If you are feeling uncomfortable, try the following:

  • Dress in clothes that are loose, comfortable, and made of cotton. If possible wear clothes you can take off easily when you begin to sweat.
  • Avoid hot or spicy foods or drinks. They can cause hot flashes.
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  • Get regular exercise.
    a woman walking.
  • Do not drink much coffee, tea, or soft drinks (pop, soda, cola). They contain caffeine, which can make you feel nervous and prevent you from sleeping.
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  • If you drink alcohol, drink only small amounts. Alcohol can increase bleeding and hot flashes.
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  • Stop smoking, sniffing, or chewing tobacco. It can cause unusual bleeding and make problems with weak bones much worse.
    a woman refusing the offer of a cigarette.
  • Explain to your family that your feelings may change easily. It may also help to discuss how you feel with other women who are also going through menopause.
  • Ask about the use of traditional remedies in your community. Often women who have already been through menopause will know ways to help you feel better.

In the past, doctors recommended that women take medicines called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help manage changes and discomfort during menopause. Unfortunately, HRT has been shown to increase women’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and stroke. It is better to avoid using these medicines.