Think you could be going through menopause? Find out what stage of menopause you are in, and how long this could last.
Three stages of menopause
The first stage of menopause is perimenopause – the period of transition leading up to menopause.
During this stage a woman’s estrogen levels are fluctuating wildly and she experiences the same symptoms as menopause.
Menstrual cycles are irregular but have not stopped.
The average woman goes through this stage between 45-49 years of age.
The second stage is menopause itself and is reached when a woman has her final period.
This normally happens between the ages of 45-55 with the average age of onset being 52.
Women will not be able to pinpoint their final period until they’ve been completely free from periods for 1 year. So by the time they know they have had their last period they are already in the third stage of menopause.
The third stage of menopause is postmenopause.
This is a time when menopause symptoms start to subside as a result of hormonal levels stabilizing in the body.
However, because of an estrogen deficiency, women in this stage are at a higher risk of certain health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
So how long does menopause last in total?
Menopause symptoms can last anywhere from 2-19 years with many women experiencing symptoms for 5 years. Women spend almost half of their lives in postmenopause!
While this is the natural menopause timeline for most women, there are two other types of menopause which are less common;
- Premature menopause is when for some reason a woman’s periods stop before the age of 40
- Surgical menopause is where menopause occurs following surgery such as a hysterectomy