What is menopause, and at what age does it start?

I am almost 45 years old and I already feel my period is getting more iregular.
Would like to know what menopause be like.


Evelyn Bailey

2 Feb, 2022

1 Answer

Dr. Nahoko Ishizaki

United States

If there is no period for more than one year under natural conditions, it is considered menopause.

The average age of menopause is about 50-51 years old.

Menopause is the complete cessation of menstruation.

The average age of menopause for American women is 50.5 years old, but it varies from person to person, with some women going through menopause in their 40s and others continuing to menstruate until the age of 56 or 57.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance when one's menopause will come.
However, it is often possible to get some idea from the changes in menstruation.

During menopause, the function of the ovaries begins to decline, and the ovaries are not able to produce enough estrogen. In addition, the number of primordial follicles, which numbered several million during fetal life, becomes fewer and fewer.

Therefore, as menopause approaches, the menstrual cycle becomes erratic, and even if menstruation does occur, anovulatory menstruation increases.

Gradually, the frequency of menstruation decreases and then stops altogether. In medical terms, menopause is diagnosed when there is no menstruation for more than one year.

In addition, there are rare cases where the ovaries stop functioning at an age other than the normal menopausal age (under 40), resulting in amenorrhea. 

This is called "premature ovarian failure (POF)" and is sometimes referred to as early menopause. There are also cases of primary amenorrhea, in which a woman never has a menstrual period.

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