For many women, we spend decades of our lives managing the symptoms that go along with menstruating. Bloating, cramps, mood swings, not to mention bleeding for a handful of days, sometimes at the most inconvenient times (or in the most inconvenient outfits).
There is, however, a natural end to those ups and downs — menopause. Our bodies produce less estrogen and progesterone in our 30s, our periods begin to change and eventually our ovaries stop producing eggs and we don’t menstruate again.
But if our bodies start changing in our late 30s, what age does menopause happen? The answer to that might surprise you.
Let’s look at the difference between Menopause vs. perimenopause. To be clear, menopause is when a woman hasn’t had a period for at least 12 months and is medically considered to have ended her menstruating years. In the Australia, the average age to hit menopause is 51. Generally speaking, menopause can happen between the ages of 45 to 55.
But there are years before that where you might experience symptoms commonly associated with menopause which is a phase called perimenopause or the menopause transition. During this phase, women are still menstruating, though it may be irregular. Periods could be heavier or lighter, more frequent or less frequent.
Premature menopause is menopause that occurs before the age of 40 years. The symptoms of early menopause are the same as for menopause at the typical age and can include:
- menstrual cycle changes, including changes to the usual bleeding pattern, particularly irregular bleeding
- hot flushes
- sleep disturbance
- urinary problems, such as increased frequency of urination or incontinence
- increase in mood changes
- increase or decrease in weight
- aches and pains.
If you require further information about Menopause or perimenopause, please consult a medical professional. This is general information only and not medical advice for individuals.