Can You Go Through Menopause Twice? 4 Things You Need to Know

Last updated 02.24.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 6 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


Menopause is a biological milestone that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is often accompanied by symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. In most cases, these symptoms last for several years. Then, they slowly taper off as the menopausal process comes to an end.

However, recently, I’ve had several women reach out and ask me if it’s possible to go through menopause twice. These women have long since passed menopause, yet they are suddenly noticing that some of their old symptoms are appearing once again.

So what’s going on? Can some women experience a double menopause? The answer is no. It’s biologically impossible to go through menopause a second time. This is because menopause is an irreversible process of hormonal depletion. And once these hormones are gone, there’s no natural way for them to return.

That being said, some women may experience a resurgence of menopause symptoms due to a medical condition or certain medications. 

So, are you experiencing what feels like a second bout of menopause? Below, I’ll share 4 essential things you need to know about menopause, including why your symptoms may have returned.

Understanding Menopause

Before we explore the potential reasons why symptoms may reoccur after menopause is complete, let me explain a little more about what menopause is. Once we understand the biological mechanisms at play, it becomes clear that it’s impossible to go through the process more than once. 

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertile years. It’s when her periods stop, and she’s no longer able to get pregnant.

The process is broken down into three stages; perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause.

Perimenopause is the build-up to menopause. During this time, levels of estrogen start to diminish. This phase usually lasts for several years and is when the most common symptoms begin.

Menopause itself is defined as the moment when a woman has experienced 12 consecutive months without a period. At this stage, estrogen has diminished to trace amounts, her periods have permanently stopped, and she is no longer able to reproduce.

Post-menopause refers to the phase of life after menopause. It is physically impossible for menopause to occur again at this stage.

Surgical Menopause

The vast majority of women experience menopause naturally. When it happens is dictated by our individual body clocks, but most of us reach this milestone between the ages of 45 and 55. 

However, women of any age may need to have their ovaries surgically removed due to a medical condition. If this happens, surgical menopause will occur.

Surgical menopause is different from natural menopause because the process happens immediately, rather than gradually. Suddenly, the body must adjust to plummeting hormones and all the symptoms that come with it.

I’ve treated numerous patients experiencing surgical menopause following the removal of their ovaries, and often, their symptoms are more severe and intense than they would be, had menopause occurred naturally.

Yet just like natural menopause, surgical menopause is an irreversible process and a one-time-only event. Once the ovaries are removed and the woman’s body adjusts to a new hormonal balance, it will never return to its pre-menopausal state.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most popular treatment to help alleviate the symptoms of menopause. It works by supplementing hormones that the body lacks during and after menopause.

Synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone are administered to help stave off bothersome issues such as hot flashes, mood swings, and low libido. In some cases, HRT can even eradicate these symptoms entirely, rendering menopause nothing but a distant memory.

But if a woman decides to stop taking HRT, some of these symptoms may return. This can give the illusion that menopause has come back, but this isn’t the case. As I mentioned above, it’s only possible to experience menopause once in a lifetime. Any recurring symptoms are either a normal part of unmedicated post-menopause or a sign of an underlying condition.

Other Underlying Causes

Sometimes, post-menopausal women can experience symptoms that mimic those from perimenopause and menopause. But in fact, these symptoms are related to something entirely different.

For example, I’ve treated multiple patients with underlying thyroid issues who were convinced they were experiencing menopause all over again. However, investigations revealed they had hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. These thyroid-related disorders are commonly seen in women, and issues such as night sweats, mood changes, and fatigue are some of the most regularly reported symptoms.

Another condition that may be confused with a second menopause include Lyme disease; symptoms of which include fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and frequent headaches. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause persistent pain and tiredness, leading some women to equate their symptoms with menopause.

Certain types of cancer can also cause vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. So, if you are experiencing these symptoms unexpectedly after menopause, be sure to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

FAQs

What is the average age of Menopause?

In the United States, the average age a woman reaches menopause is 51. However, it is not usual for the process to occur sooner, or later, in a woman’s life.

How do I know if my menopause symptoms will return?

If you have passed menopause and symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings have settled down naturally, it’s unlikely that they will return. However, if you have found relief via medications such as HRT, you may experience a resurgence of symptoms when you stop taking the treatment.

Will surgical menopause cause my periods to stop?

Yes. Surgical menopause occurs after the ovaries are removed. This not only induces the typical symptoms of menopause; it also puts a stop to your periods for good. Without the ovaries, reproductive hormones are no longer produced, and the menstrual cycle is permanently stopped.

Conclusion

Just because the symptoms of menopause have returned, it doesn’t mean that menopause is happening all over again. Instead, these symptoms are likely due to stopping medication such as HRT, or another underlying cause.

So, if you’re experiencing unexpected hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, or mood swings after menopause, speak to your doctor. They can assess your symptoms, diagnose the problem, and help you find relief.

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.