Everybody's body works a little differently, so it is not surprising that not all women reach menopause at the exact same time. However, on average, women reach menopause at age 51, and the average age range when women reach menopause is between 45 and 55. It is important to remember that menopause is technically a moment in time when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. Many women also experience menopause later or earlier than the normal age range.
When Does a Woman Enter Perimenopause?
Perimenopause means "around menopause" and is the term used to describe the period of time leading up to when a woman reaches menopause. During this time, a woman's body produces less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, her menstrual cycle becomes irregular, she eventually stops getting her period, and her body prepares to become infertile.
It is during this phase that women experience many of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Women experience perimenopause differently. Some women don't feel any menopause symptoms, while other women experience symptoms for years that require management.
When Does a Woman Enter Menopause?
A woman is not considered to have reached menopause until a full year has passed without her having a menstrual period. At this time, the symptoms associated with menopause begin to subside. Although the age range for reaching menopause goes from 45 to 55, some women experience it later or earlier.
For instance, if a woman had a hysterectomy with an oophorectomy (where both ovaries have been removed in addition to the uterus), she will experience induced menopause. Hysterectomies are one of the most commonly performed surgeries on women, and because women can get one at any time, a woman can also reach menopause at any time.
When Can a Woman Consider Herself Postmenopausal?
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 because it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Although menopause symptoms can let up during postmenopause, they may continue, so it is important to see a doctor if your symptoms are bothering you or altering your quality of life.
Although menopause is often divided into different phases, not everything always seems so clear cut, and women should not stress out if they are not having the same menopausal experiences as the women around them.
Menopause is also not a disease and should not be defined solely by the symptoms that it causes. Many women find menopause liberating and enjoy reaching this new stage in their life. However, if a woman's menopause symptoms are bothering her, she should seek medical attention, treatment, and other helpful resources. Click on the following link to learn more about treating menopause symptoms.