When Do Women Go Through Menopause?
Menopause, a natural process in every woman’s life, typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 but can happen sooner or later. Whether it’s your own menopause transition or that of someone you love, understanding the process can help to navigate the changes in life.
When Does It Begin?
Menopause marks the end of fertility cycles in a woman’s life, signaling the end of her socially-defined reproductive years. The way menopause is officially counted is when a woman goes a full year without a period, indicating the end of other hormonal changes and fertility.
Signs & Symptoms
Though each individual may experience a unique journey, the following are signs that signal the beginning of menopause:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Thinning hair
The transition leading up to menopause, usually between 45 and 55, is called perimenopause, or sometimes premenopause. During this time, hormone levels slowly decrease and erratic menstrual bleeding may be one of the early signs.
Menopause and Your Health
Declining hormone levels bring a range of physical and emotional side effects. To manage the transition, women should speak with their doctor or medical provider to ensure they have the best care plan during this time. For some women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended.
Menopause is a defining milestone in a woman’s life, and having an understanding of what to expect can help to make this transition an empowering one.