Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life. If you suspect you are experiencing symptoms, you may wonder at what age does menopause start.
This article will tell you what you need to know about early and premature menopause.
The Office on Women’s Health, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, notes that menopause is when your monthly period stops permanently. Sometimes it is referred to as “the change of life” or “going through the change.” It does not happen suddenly, but is rather a time of transition.
When does menopause start?
“Menopause is a retrospective diagnosis and is said to have happened when menstrual activity has ceased for at least 12 consecutive months in the absence of any other physiological or pathological explanation for the same,” Dr. Vikram Talaulikar, an associate specialist in reproductive medicine at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, writes in the journal Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology. “It marks the end of reproductive life and follicular activity.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median menopause age is about 51, but it may vary, ranging between 40 to 60 years old. When menopause starts can be confusing; the transition to menopause starts during the perimenopause phase and ends when you have reached the one-year mark without a period.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging, the transition from perimenopause to menopause can last seven to 14 years. The duration of the transition can be affected by many things:
- Age when the transition begins
RELATED: Quiz: Are You in Perimenopause?
What is perimenopause?
The first phase in reaching menopause is perimenopause.
Women start perimenopause at different ages, usually in their 40s but sometimes as early as their mid-30s, according to the Mayo Clinic. During this time, the level of estrogen produced by your body rises and falls unevenly. These changing estrogen levels can cause your periods to go haywire. Your cycle may become longer or shorter. Perimenopause can last for several years; you are not considered to have reached menopause until you have completed one full year without your period.
Symptoms of perimenopause include: