Menopause is defined as a date in time when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. The menopause age range falls between 45 and 55, with the average age of menopause in the United States being 51. Although, many women experience an early menopause, too.
Continue reading to learn more about the age menopause starts, referring to the menopausal transition, as well as the various reproductive stages leading up to the end of fertility.
At What Age Does Menopause Start? (Perimenopause)
Perimenopause, meaning "around menopause," is the term used to describe the period of time leading up to when a woman reaches menopause, that is, stops having her periods. This transitional phase is commonly referred to as the time when a woman “goes through” menopause.
Nonetheless, there is no set date at which a woman enters perimenopause. The transition usually lasts about seven years before her menopause date, but it can take as long as 10 or so years.
During this time, hormonal fluctuations ensue as a woman's body begins to slow production of estrogen and progesterone, which have been the driving force behind her menstrual cycle for the past decades.
It is during this phase that women experience many menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, low libido, mood swings, and more. Without a doubt, some women don't feel any menopause symptoms, while others experience symptoms that require management for several years.
When is Menopause?
As stated above, the menopause date is announced when 12 consecutive months have passed without a menstrual bleed. It is at this point when your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing the majority of their output of sex hormones.
Also, keep in mind that it is possible to go through an early menopause, which is when a woman has confirmed menopause between the ages of 40 and 45. Perimenopause symptoms preceding that date can start in your mid-30s.
Within the years to come, menopause symptoms may begin to subside; however, they could still continue.
When Does Menopause End? (Postmenopause)
After a women reaches menopause, she is considered postmenopausal.
This means that she is infertile and should no longer get her period. If a woman experiences any vaginal bleeding while postmenopausal, she should consult her physician.
Moreover, because of continuously lower levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of developing more serious health conditions, such as osteoporosis, depression, cardiovascular disease, and more.
In conclusion, although the average age of menopause is 51 in the United States, women can begin the menopausal transition - perimenopause - as soon as 10 years before, with those who enter early menopause starting in their 30s. With each stage of menopause, you become closer and closer to ending reproductive years. With this comes a fluctuation of hormones, causing characteristic menopause symptoms, until eventually entering postmenopause when they usually subside. However, don't let bothersome symptoms become downright unbearable. Find out how you can treat menopause symptoms to glide into your twilight years with ease.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2017). Menopause, Perimenopause, and Postmenopause. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15224-menopause-perimenopause-and-postmenopause
- National Institute on Aging. (2017). What is Menopause? Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Office on Women's Health. (2018). Early or premature menopause. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause
- Victoria State Government: Better Health Channel. (2018). Premature and Early Menopause. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/premature-and-early-menopause