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Q&A: What Is the Normal Age for Menopause?

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Menopause occurs to all women, but at different ages.

Menopause is the transition from a woman's reproductive years to a post-reproductive era, and it occurs in every woman, but a different age. It can happen naturally, surgically, or prematurely depend on the circumstances. Menopause occurs when a year has passed since a woman's last period. The time leading up to the cessation of menstruation, when a woman is experiencing uncomfortable symptoms as a result of depleting estrogen levels, is called perimenopause. Keep reading to learn more about each stage of menopause, when they happen and the normal timeframe for the menopausal transition and what to expect during this unpleasant and troublesome process.

When Does a Woman Enter Perimenopause?

For most women, perimenopause usually begins in their late 40's.

The experience of perimenopause can be different for every woman. The symptoms that most people associate with menopause are actually perimenopausal symptoms and can begin up to 10 years before menopause itself. For most women, perimenopause usually begins in their late 40's, but it can be several years earlier or later depending on the woman.

When Does a Woman Enter Menopause?

Hormones change during menopause

A woman is not considered to have reached menopause until a full year has passed without having a menstrual period. At this time, symptoms begin to decrease while estrogen levels balance out. Women reach menopause on average at age 51, but it can occur earlier or later.

For instance, if a woman had a hysterectomy with an oophorectomy (where both ovaries have been removed in addition to the uterus), she will technically enter menopause, although through a surgery and not natural. Although this procedure can be performed at any age, it is uncommon in women under 30.

When Can a Woman Consider Herself Postmenopausal?

12 months after your final period, you are postmenopausal.

After a woman reaches menopause, 12 months after her final period, she is postmenopausal. However, this depends on each woman's personal, unique experience of menopause. Technically, a woman is postmenopausal for the rest of her life.

More Information

The stages of menopause are unique, each with defining characteristics. Each phase may produce similar symptoms to the others, but the severity and treatment choices may differ for each woman's personal experience of these menopause stages. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common choice for treating menopausal symptoms, but caution should be taken because HRT carries many risks.

Always consult a doctor about the best treatment option for you. To learn more about what constitutes a “normal” experience of menopause and how to treat it, click on the following link.

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