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What is menopause?
Menopause is not a sudden change. It’s actually just a point in time! Natural menopause is defined as the point in time 12 months after a woman’s final menstrual period (FMP).
Most people confuse the term menopause with perimenopause, which is the time before menopause when a woman’s hormone levels and menstrual cycle begin to change. During perimenopause she may have symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and irregular periods.
Perimenopause and menopause are a normal part of the aging process that occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs and releasing the necessary female sex hormones that are responsible for fertility.
Check out this article for more on menopause and perimenopause.
At what age does menopause occur?
Most women will experience menopause between the ages of 40 and 58 years old. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51 years old (but it may occur earlier or later).
How do I know if I am approaching menopause?
Natural menopause is defined as the point in time 12 months after a woman’s final menstrual period (FMP).
Early signs to look out for include changes in your menstrual cycles in terms of flow, length, and regularity. Symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and/or trouble sleeping. Check out this article for more early signs of menopause and peri-menopause.
If you think you may be approaching menopause or experiencing menopausal symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider who can complete a medical consultation and provide an official diagnosis.
Does every woman go through menopause?
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Common symptoms experienced during the menopause transition include hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, brain fog, stress, reduced libido, changes in hair/skin/nails, bladder issues, vaginal discomfort, and weight changes. This is in addition to menstrual changes such as irregularity in periods (heavier, or lighter than normal), and cycle changes.
What causes menopause?
Menopause is a natural process of aging when menstruation stops and marks the end of fertility. It is caused by the decline in production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which help to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the body for potential pregnancy.
How will I know what symptoms I will experience?
Every woman will experience menopause differently. Currently, menopause symptoms cannot be predetermined. However, your family history, medical history, and lifestyle factors may be predictors of symptoms and may influence the severity of your experience.
Check out this article to learn tips on how to prepare for menopause
How long does menopause last?
The length of each woman’s journey through menopause is different. There are various stages of menopause which will vary in length and experience individually. The median time that women experience menopausal symptoms is 7.4 years, but the menopause transition overall can be as long as 14 years.
Avis, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):531.
Is there a way to predict menopause?
At this time, there is no way to predict exactly when menopause will occur. However, experts from organizations including the North American Menopause Society, the National Institute of Health, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, International Menopause Society, National Institute on Aging, and the Office of Research on Women’s Health developed the gold standard method (known as STRAW+10, the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop) for depicting the natural transition in a female’s life from the reproductive years and beyond menopause.
Interested in learning more about where you might be within your menopause journey? Take the Assessment
Source: Harlow SD et al. Menopause. 2012;19(4):387-395.
Is there a way to stop or prevent menopause?
You cannot prevent or stop menopause. Though there are lifestyle habits you can adopt to either avoid triggering symptoms or reduce the severity of symptoms.
Checkout this article to learn tips on how to prepare for menopause.
Is there a test I can take to know I am in menopause?
Can menopause start early?
Menopause can start early in certain situations. Typically, menopause that happens before 40 years old is called “premature menopause”, and menopause that happens between 40 and 45 years old is known as “early menopause”. About 5% of women naturally experience early menopause.
Other women may experience early menopause due to medical procedures or treatments.
Check out this article to learn more about the signs of early menopause and menopause.
If you are concerned about menopause starting early, we encourage you to speak with your doctor.
Source: Shifren and Gass, (2014). Menopause; 21(10): 1038–1062.
Can I still get pregnant during menopause?
Pregnancy is possible during perimenopause. During perimenopause ovulation is still occurring, and although it may be occurring inconsistently there is a possibility of pregnancy until you have gone 12 months since your final menstrual period (FMP).