Many changes occur in a woman’s body as she grows older. Menopause is one such natural event that takes place with growing age, generally in the mid life of a woman. Menopause is defined as complete cessation of menstruation for more than 12 months. It also indicates the end of woman’s fertile period.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries do not respond to the hormones that are released by the brain. As a result it does not produce egg and also reduces production of female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which essentially play a role in every menstrual cycle.
At What Age Does Menopause Start?
Now the question arises when does menopause start? The answer to this question is not as easy as we think. This is because every woman has her unique constitution. In some women the onset of menopause maybe as early as 40 years, and in some women the onset of menopause can be as late as 50 to 55 years. But on an average, most women reach their menopausal phase between 45 and 51.
But before reaching menopause, there is a transitional phase which is also called perimenopause. The transitional stage symptom allows the body to prepare itself for menopause. Once the transitional stage is over, a woman is said to have reached menopause. This we are discussing about menopause occurring naturally in a woman.
However, in some women menopause may set in early in their life, say before 40 years. It is often due to surgical removal of ovaries or uterus due to ovarian and uterine disease. There is no ovulation and production of estrogen and progesterone suddenly recedes after its removal. There is no perimenopause phase in these women. They do not get chance to adjust to changes in hormones.
Early onset of menopause (before 40 years) may also occur if there is a family history of early menopause. Excessive smoking, depression and stress, radiation and chemo therapy may also induce early menopause is a women.
How Long Does Menopause Symptoms Last?
With development of perimenopause symptoms, many women want to know how long will it take for this transition phase. There is no fixed period that can be predicted by anyone for the length of perimenopause symptoms. It may depend on several factors such as family history, their lifestyle, diet, etc.
The first sign of perimenopausal symptoms begin to appear in the late thirties and early forties. They include hot flashes, sweating, palpation, mood changes, menstrual irregularity etc. In some woman this symptoms may disappear after one or two years and menopause sets in. In some woman, it may prolong for 5 to 8 years before the final event of menopause.
In some women, the symptoms may gradually cease one year after menopause, while in others it may prolong for five years and more after menopause. Few symptoms such as vaginal dryness, frequent urination, burning urination, are generally experienced during post menopause but they generally disappear within 1 year. For this reason it can be said that most woman may have a window period between 2 to 10 years for their menopause symptoms.