What It’s Like to Have Your Last Period Before Menopause
Ask anyone who’s been through menopause what their last period was like, and you’ll get anything within a wide range of responses. That’s because experiences with perimenopause and menopause can vary quite a bit from person to person.
The path to your final period, known as perimenopause, can last from two to eight years. Or it can happen all at once after a medical procedure. Some people might know it’s their last period, and others may not realize it until much later. Leading up to it, some experience occasional annoyances like spotting, and others have life-disrupting hot flashes, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and/or vaginal dryness.
To get a sense of what the experience can be like for different people, I asked five women about their last periods before menopause. They shared their stories and things you might consider as you wonder, “Is this it?”
I Waited for Years
Stephanie Weaver, 60, San Diego
“The problem with years of perimenopause is you can think you’re done multiple times, nearly make it to a year, and then there’s a day of light spotting and you have to restart the clock.
“I entered perimenopause when I was 43, but it wasn’t until my early 50s that my periods stopped for good. Toward the end, my periods were very light spotting, which was annoying. I wore panty liners every day because I never had any idea when they would happen. Mostly, I was just ready for them to stop so I could officially be done.”
I Happily Said Goodbye to Period Pain
Indu K., 59, Hertfordshire, England
“My last period was sometime in my early 50s. It just didn’t show up. One month, I had a full-blown period with the usual amount of bleeding, and the next month there was nothing.
“When I allowed myself to believe this was the end, I was thrilled. I’d waited for this moment ever since my teens, fantasizing about sexual freedom without the fear of pregnancy (though STIs are, of course, still a consideration!).
“I’ve always had painful periods, and as I got older, they became erratic and impacted my mood significantly. Now, it’s wonderful to not feel pain or emotional upheavals every month.”
I Felt a Sense of Loss
Sally Hope, 42, Bozeman, Montana
“My last period was on the day of my very first chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. It was wrought with so many emotions. I always imagined I’d be happy to have a last period and I’d be ready for it. But mine represented something different: This disease was in control of my body, and I wasn’t.
“It was jarring, shocking, and uncomfortable. It also meant I could no longer decide whether I wanted to have biological children, and no longer having the ability to make that choice hurt. It’s hard to go through this alone when a lot of people your age don’t understand what you’re going through, but sharing my experience with my partner, doctor, friends, online support groups, and a small network of other survivors has helped.”
I Was Surprised at First
Kanan Tekchandani, 45, Baldock, England
“At 44, I started having these strange, sudden sensations of heat all over, but I thought I must be imagining things since I was so young compared to my friends who were having hot flashes. My doctor confirmed I was in perimenopause.
“I’d always had heavy periods, but they seemed to be getting lighter with bigger spaces in between. Last October, I had a short and light period I suspect was my last. I’m looking forward to enjoying no more cramps, stains, or sanitary products.”
I Felt Free to Enjoy a New Life Phase
Fiona Young-Brown, 49, Lexington, Kentucky
“I had my last period at 47, two weeks before my hysterectomy. Physically, my final period was one of the few that didn’t have any pain—perhaps because I felt calm and relieved, knowing it would be my last.
“I’d expected to feel a certain sadness that kids would now definitely be out of the picture for me, but instead I felt acceptance that having children had never been the right choice for me.
“I actually celebrated the occasion with a toast. It symbolized a new stage of life, one where I felt stronger. It has been so liberating not to worry about blood-stained clothes, being prepared, and so on. I do not miss my periods at all.”
You May Also Like:
Want to Read More?
Access all of Twill Care’s content, community, and experts for free!
Already a member? Login