Postmenopause is the fourth and last stage of the menopause process. Technically, it is the entire time in a woman's life after she reaches menopause. In this stage, women can forget about menstrual periods and monthly inconveniences, since the ovaries have officially stopped releasing eggs.
Researchers are still discovering information about this time in a woman's life. In this section, women will find useful information about what it means to be postmenopausal, at what age women can expect to reach this stage, and the different postmenopause tests that can be done.
When women reach postmenopause, they often feel they are regaining a sense of control of their bodies. After perimenopause and menopause, the body has generally learned how to function with low levels of hormones.
In most cases, the troubling symptoms women experienced in the years prior to menopause are significantly lessened, eventually fading altogether. A few women, however, still experience certain symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, even after the total cessation of their menstrual periods.
Average Age of Postmenopause
It is hard to determine exactly when a woman will reach the postmenopausal stage, but most women reach postmenopause between their late 40s and their 60s.
A factor to consider is that each woman will go through the menopause process differently, depending on a variety of circumstances. In the United States, the average age for women to reach postmenopause is 51. However, in some cases, women become postmenopausal at an earlier age due to medical procedures or health conditions.
There are a few tests a woman can take to see if she is indeed postmenopausal. The simplest one is to determine whether or not she has menstruated within the past 12 months; however, remembering the exact month of their last cycles after a whole year can be difficult for many women. Women can also have a few medical tests done to determine where they are in the menopausal process.
Though it may seem pointless for a woman to take a pregnancy test to determine if she will never be able to get pregnant again, it is always best to rule out the slim possibility of conception after sporadic ovulation.
Follicle stimulating hormone test
This test is done to determine the amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that is present in a woman's body. This hormone is essential to maintain the regularity of a woman's menstrual cycle and the test can help determine if she is postmenopausal.
Bone density screening
This test measures the levels of calcium in the bones and can determine if women have osteoporosis, a condition related to postmenopause.
After learning about postmenopause, at what age woman can expect it, and the postmenopausal tests available, it is time to know the causes behind its onset. For a comprehensive explanation of the roots of postmenopause, visit the section about causes of postmenopause.
- BMJ Group. (2007). "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2015). Menopause. Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause