The sign that tells you your last period before menopause is 20 months away

/The sign that tells you your last period before menopause is 20 months away

The sign that tells you your last period before menopause is 20 months away

eggtimerIf you’re in your 40s or 50s and still get a regular period, chances are, you’re curious when those periods will finally stop, indicating that you’re officially in menopause.

Well, there are several clues that indicate when you’re on your way toward this new hormone phase, including heavier and/or irregular periods, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness and moodiness.

Now a new study in the journal Menopause reveals one more clue–and while it’s one that isn’t exactly welcome, it does help pinpoint how long it is till your last period: It’s a decline in sexual desire and satisfaction.

According to the researchers who gave 1,390 women between the ages of 42 and 52 questionnaires rating sexual desire, arousal, satisfaction and pain over the course of 14.5 years, the majority of women experienced a notable drop in sexual function 20 months prior to their last period.

Ethnicity appears to play a role in just how steep a decline women experience. The study found that African-American experienced a lesser decline and women of Japanese descent had a larger decline when compared to Caucasian women.

This drop in sexual function continued one year after the last period of the women studied and, to a lesser extent, over the five years that followed.

While it’s well-known that sexual function can decline during menopause, this is the first study to show it can be used to pinpoint when menopause will be occurring.

The good news? There are treatments for sexual dysfunction, including hormone therapies (such as vaginal estrogen cream) and hormone-free lubricants. And many women in menopause and who are post-menopausal continue to enjoy robust, fulfilling physical intimacy. So, if you’re experiencing sexual issues, ask your gynecologist for options that may help you.

[Photo: Ian Barbour]

By | 2017-06-06T18:07:40+00:00 November 15th, 2016|health, menopause, perimenopause|2 Comments

About the Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of Hormonology® and a longtime women’s health journalist, pioneered the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and know more about all the ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior. This movement was launched in 2005 with Gabrielle's groundbreaking book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential, and her creation of Hormonology®. She offers a variety of tools--including her popular free Hormone Horoscope® app, eBooks, infographics, videos and tips--to share vital information about hormones.


  1. Gabrielle Lichterman March 17, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I understand what you’re saying and appreciate your reminder that not every woman will experience the same effects. Thank you.

  2. Lindsey February 28, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Drastic article, and may not be exactly true for most women. I’m 53.5 and apparently just meandering toward menopause. Meanwhile, my friend, age 52, just celebrated one year without a period – by having even more marathon sex with her boyfriend. My other friend, age 56, was in a loveless marriage when her period finally stopped two years ago. And then, she got divorced, met someone and is getting more than she’s had in the last decade. And me? Well, tragically, I’m not in any kind of relationship, although I’m keenly interested in sex…more than a teenager….but only for about 2 weeks starting about 10 days into my cycle. It’s kind of annoying to try to act on it, though, because I now bleed for anything from 10-30 days straight, and then sometimes get a break for as few as 3 days or as long as 45. Ahhhh. Complications of womanhood. But judging from the sexual activities of my closest friends and my own longing therefore, I am suggesting that perhaps it’s not as clear as this article/study makes it seems.

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