Hesperian Health Guides

The End of Monthly Bleeding (Menopause)

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 8: Growing Older > The End of Monthly Bleeding (Menopause)

One of the main signs of growing older is that a woman’s monthly bleeding ends. It may end suddenly, or it may stop gradually over 1 to 2 years. For most women this change happens between the age of 45 and 55.

  • Your monthly bleeding changes. It may just stop, or 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 (this is also called having ‘hot flashes’). This can wake you up at night.
  • Your vagina becomes smaller and less wet.
  • Your feelings change easily.

These signs happen because a woman’s ovaries stop making eggs, and her body makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The signs will start to go away as her body gets used to less estrogen.

How a woman feels about the end of her monthly bleeding sometimes depends on how she is affected by the changes in her body. It also depends on how her community thinks about and treats older women. She may be relieved not to have her monthly bleeding every month. But she may also feel sad that she cannot have any more children.

What to do during menopause

an older woman walking Menopause is a normal part of life. Most women will be able to feel better by following some of the suggestions on the next page.

Although women sometimes feel uncomfortable during menopause, most can feel better by making changes in their daily habits and diet.

In the past, doctors used to recommend that women take medicines containing estrogen and progesterone to relieve the most severe symptoms of menopause. This is called “Hormone Replacement Therapy” (HRT). Unfortunately, HRT has now been shown to increase women’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and stroke. So it is better for a woman to avoid using these medicines.

If you are having signs that make you uncomfortable, try the following:

  • Dress in clothes that you can take off easily when you begin to sweat.
a woman removing her jacket
a large X drawn through a plate of hot food, a steaming mug, and two hot peppers
  • Avoid hot or spicy foods or drinks. They can cause hot flashes.
a large X drawn through a coffee pot, a teapot, and two cups
  • Do not drink much coffee or tea. They contain caffeine, which can make you feel nervous and prevent you from sleeping.
an older woman walking
  • Get regular exercise.
a large X drawn through a beer bottle, a wine bottle, and a martini glass
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only small amounts. Alcohol can increase bleeding and hot flashes.
a woman refusing to take a cigarette offered to her
  • Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. It can cause unusual bleeding and make problems with weak bones much worse.
  • Explain to your family that your feelings may change easily. It may also help to discuss how you feel with other women who are 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.

This page was updated:17 Apr 2019