Menopause is the natural end to menstruation (monthly periods). Most American women experience this around the age of 50. However, some women can experience menopause as early as 40 years old or as late as 60 years old. If menopause occurs prior to age 40, this is thought to be abnormal and is called premature menopause.
Menopause is the result of the depletion of egg cells from the ovaries and the reduction of female hormones. Menopause is considered complete when you have been without your period for a full year. Rather than a single point in time, menopause is a process or transitional period when women move away from the phase of life where reproduction is possible.
Menopause is a normal part of life. It marks the end of a long, slow process that begins in the mid-30’s, when ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone. These female hormones are both important for normal menstrual cycles and successful pregnancy. Surgery to remove the ovaries (
) and/or uterus (
) in premenopausal women causes menopause to begin prematurely (surgical menopause).
In addition to its role in reproduction, estrogen is an important hormone for maintaining bone health, and it may also play important roles in heart health, skin elasticity, and brain function.
Stages of Menopause
May begin 3-5 years before your last menstrual period
Lasts about one to two years after your last menstrual period
Signs and symptoms may appear during this phase
Complete cessation of menstrual periods
You have had no menstrual periods for one year
or undergo surgical menopause or have a blood test confirmation of menopause (FSH elevated).
Childbearing is no longer naturally possible
Begins one to two years after your last menstrual period
You no longer menstruate.
Risk of certain health problems increases (such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and vaginal dryness)
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a