Although millions of women around the world go through menopause every year, this is a topic still shrouded by misinformation. As an example, the type of symptoms, the duration of this phase of life, and the age when it usually begins and ends are among the questions asked most often. Considering there are many factors involved, it is easy to see why some women are confused. With the information provided, women will have a much better understanding as to the age when menopause starts, which can actually help them prepare for what is often referred to as the “change of life”.
Once a woman enters menopause, the years of being able to bear children are over. At this time, production levels of two hormones known as progesterone and estrogen have declined. This causes a woman to experience physical symptoms but also emotional and mental symptoms since the decrease of these hormones also causes chemicals in the brain to fluctuate. Some women go through this phase of life with relatively few problems but in some cases, symptoms can be devastating.
Even though the exact effects of menopause will remain unknown until a woman actually enters this phase, having an idea of when this will start makes it possible to prepare to a certain degree. For instance, there are certain vitamins and supplements that can help reduce symptoms and even adopting healthier lifestyle choices would help. In simple terms, knowing an estimated age of when menopause is coming and what to expect can make the symptoms easier to tolerate.
In the Beginning
We want to mention that there is no set age of when menopause starts and stops but on average, the first symptoms appear anytime between 45 and 52 years of age. Keep in mind that this is for “natural menopause”, which simply means a natural progression of life. However, there are certain things that can force a woman into menopause ahead of schedule such as undergoing chemotherapy or having a hysterectomy.
As an example, if a woman had to have a complete hysterectomy at age 30 for health-related issues, she would immediately go into menopause. Because the ovaries would be removed, which are responsible for producing progesterone and estrogen, this person would no longer have these female hormones. Because of this, it would be imperative to begin receiving some type of Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT immediately. Otherwise, the immediate change could cause horrific effects.
Stages of Menopause
Women should also know that menopause is actually broken down into three specific stages. These include perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause. While there are some similarities among the three phases to include symptoms, each is also unique as outlined below.
- Perimenopause – This phase occurs between the primary childbearing years and full-blown menopause. On average, perimenopause starts between the ages of 35 and 45, during which time hormonal levels slowly start to decrease. Although it is possible to still conceive a baby during this phase, it would become more and more difficult with each passing year.
- Menopause – For actual menopause, the age would fall between the ages of 45 and 52 as stated. This phase is the most challenging because symptoms are the most severe. In addition to physical symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, sleep problems, headaches, and bloating, among others, women typically experience mood swings, agitation, irritability, and even depression.
- Post Menopause – Many of the same symptoms of menopause are experienced during the post menopause phase although to a lesser degree. However, to be in this phase, a woman would have gone an entire 12 months without having a monthly menstrual cycle. Because this is the last phase, the age it starts would coordinate with the age when menopause stops.
- Early Menopause – While this is not actually one of the three phases, there are some women who will experience what is referred to as “early menopause”. As the name implies, this involves women who start into menopause at an age earlier than normal. While early menopause could be a natural occurrence, it is most often associated with a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, or some other injury or trauma. The difference is that instead of a woman transitioning from perimenopause to menopause, this person would go directly into menopause.
No matter the phase or age of the woman, going through the change of life can be difficult. In fact, while woman dread this part of life, we cannot stress enough the benefit of education and being prepared. Knowing the age that menopause typically starts and stops can certainly make this easier to manage.