When Does Menopause Start?

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Life expectancy for women is increasing which means that most women will experience the transition phase of menopause since the transition phase starts when a woman is in her 40’s. 

Menopause is a natural and normal part of ageing for women. It is a phase where a woman’s ovaries will no longer produce efficient oestrogen and progesterone. The average age for women to get menopause is 51. It is not easy for women to go through the stages of menopause, the symptoms can have a negative impact on their daily tasks and even work environment. That is why women need to be well-informed about what they can expect during menopause and how they can treat the symptoms.


Life Expectancy Of Women

Human life expectancy has drastically improved for women over the years. Most women born in the 1900s did not make it until the age of 50. In the UK, the current life expectancy average for women is over 80. This is the reason why more women experience menopause now than in previous years. 


Can a Hysterectomy Induce Menopause?

It is found that there is a possibility that a hysterectomy, which is a medical procedure where a woman's ovaries are surgically removed, can induce menopause. This can also be the result of ablation of ovarian function because of chemotherapy or radiation. Menopause occurs due to the loss of ovarian follicular function. 


Defining Menopausal Transition

Menopausal transition involves a few changes occurring to the female body which include physical and hormonal changes. Every woman’s experience during the transition phase is different. There is no one-size-fits-all management of symptoms during the transition phase. Symptoms for most women are severe and can last a long time. There are three stages of menopause, namely perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. 


Perimenopause (The Beginning of Menopause)

Perimenopause also known as pre-menopause is when the first symptoms start to show of menopause. This stage normally starts from 4-8 years before menopause. The age for perimenopause to start differs from each woman. Some women experience it in their 40’s, other women can experience it even earlier. Symptoms to look out for during this stage are changes in your period and mood. These changes occur due to the decline in oestrogen and progesterone levels in the female body. Ovaries are responsible for developing oestrogen and progesterone, but during menopause, ovaries produce a lower amount of these hormones. 


Menopause (The End of Menstrual Cycle Stage)

This is the stage where women will experience amenorrhea, in simpler terms, women will stop having their menstrual cycle.  This phase only lasts for one year, which means that women should experience amenorrhea for 12 consecutive months to be able to enter the post-menopausal stage.


Post Menopause

Post menopause means after menopause, this point is reached after 12 consecutive months of amenorrhea. Women can’t reproduce once they have reached this stage. Women will be in this stage for the rest of their life. During this stage, ovaries produce low levels of oestrogen and progesterone which means that ovulation no longer occurs, and women can’t become pregnant. 


The Average Age of a Woman Getting Menopause

Most women experience menopause from ages 40 – 58, the average age of onset is 51. There is no way to say when precisely a woman will experience menopause, some studies indicate that genetics does play a role. Genetics is not the only factor that can indicate when menopause will start, medical factors can also influence the timing of menopause. 


Symptoms of Menopause

Symptoms affecting 80% of a woman during the transition phase for menopause include hot flushes and night sweats. Other symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, vaginal dryness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, low libido, and anxiety, amenorrhea (not getting a period) for 12 consecutive months. Some symptoms will indicate in what phase the woman is at for the menopause process. A woman need to know in what phase they are during menopause to best manage their symptoms. 


Menopause Symptoms at Age 40 

For most woman menopause do not start this early. Should a woman experience any symptoms before the age of 40, it is known as premature menopause. If a woman is between the ages of 40-45 and experiencing menopause symptoms it is known as early menopause. Woman in their 40’s will experience symptoms such as period changes, hot flushes, mood changes and insomnia. 


Symptoms of Menopause at Age 45 

Around this age, women start to experience symptoms of pre-menopause which will indicate that menopause is coming. Some women only experience mild symptoms, but other women can experience symptoms that are disruptive and long-lasting. Period changes are normal during this time, changes such as regularity and flow. Some women will experience a heavier flow, others will experience a lighter flow. Women will experience amenorrhea where they do not have a period for months

Mood changes can occur during this time. Women tend to feel more irritable, depressed, and anxious. It is important for a woman to practice self-care during this time. Women can also experience trouble sleeping during this time. Sleep trouble can contribute to feeling fatigued and irritable the next day. 


Menopausal Symptoms at Age 50

Most women will have their last period at the age of 50. Oestrogen and progesterone levels start to decrease as menopause gets closer. During this time symptoms will become more intense: menstrual cycle will stop, and mood swings/ insomnia will become worse. Women will start to get hot flushes, chills, and night sweats. Gaining weight is also another symptom of menopause. This is because of muscle mass reduction due to lower oestrogen levels, which slows down the metabolism of women. 


Symptoms of Menopause at Age 55

Most women after the age of 55 enter the post-menopausal phase. During this time a woman’s body already adjusted to the lower amount of oestrogen and progesterone. Collagen production will decrease because of lower oestrogen and progesterone levels. This will cause the skin to become dry and hair to become thinner. The decrease in oestrogen level can cause vaginal dryness and may result in discomfort during sex. 


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