Think you could be going through menopause?
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