Can someone please tell me what the average of menopause is? Your face is heating up. Your periods are going haywire. And you’ve just cried in the line at the post office. And here you are searching up questions like Is 47 too early for menopause?
Weird that for all the billions of women on this planet who have gone through menopause, we still don’t seem to feel like it’s something we can talk about. The result is that we land up stumbling through it alone without the support we need.
We think it’s time that changed—so let’s have the conversation.
When does menopause start (on average)?
The average age of menopause is 51.
But there are so many different experiences of this life phase that even the idea of a “normal age for menopause” feels like it leaves a lot of the story out.
The reality is, there’s no one “menopause age”, just as there’s no truly accurate way to predict when it’ll happen, like a menopause age calculator.
Learn more on when does menopause start.
How do you know when menopause starts?
Menopause is the time 12 months after you have your last period. Your period stops because your ovaries stop releasing eggs.
While menopause is technically a moment in time, it’s better understood as a phase where your body goes through a transition from one life stage to another.
Before you hit menopause, you go through what’s called perimenopause. Over this period, your body goes through a major hormonal shift. Hence all the crazy symptoms. Because you no longer need estrogen and progesterone to help out with your menstrual cycle, your ovaries stop producing these hormones—and this change can have all sorts of interesting effects on your body.
But the fascinating thing is, while some women go through a whole lot over this time, others don’t really experience anything at all.
Perimenopause often begins in your 40s, a year or two before you stop having your period for good. But it can start much earlier and/or go on for much longer.
About 1% of women go through menopause before they hit 40. This is called early menopause and it can put you at greater risk for health complications like osteoporosis. (Basically, you spend more time without the benefits that estrogen brings.)
While we don’t always know for sure what causes early menopause, there are some risk factors that may make it more of a likelihood:
- Genetic factors. If your mama went through early menopause, you might too
- Undergoing chemotherapy
- Having ovarian surgery
- Autoimmune diseases
- Smoking. Various studies have revealed a link between exposure to smoke and menopause.
If you think you are going through early menopause, talk to your doctor to see if treatments such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) are right for you.
What are the top 10 signs of menopause?
While different women have different experiences, here are the more common menopause symptoms:
- Hot flashes. Yes, this is the poster child for menopause symptoms
- Periods that are irregular, heavy, and/or longer than usual
- Bone loss
- Quick changes in mood
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Night sweats
- Thinning hair (and hair that grows in new places)
- Tender or sore breasts. They may also start morphing into a new shape.
Symptoms may last until after you have hit menopause (recap: 12 months after your last period) but some women continue to experience them for a few years, sometimes well into their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
There’s just no one way to have this experience.
The more we talk about menopause, the less isolating the experience is for all of us. Chat to your Peanut community. Talk to your friends and family about what you’re experiencing. Book a session with a counselor.
You just don’t have to go through this alone.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know
Hot Flashes: Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do
What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain
Unusual Menopause Symptoms You Might Not Know
Why Are My Breasts Getting Bigger After Menopause?
Evening Primrose Oil & Menopause: What’s the Story?
Menopause and Sleep: What’s the Link?
What are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause?
What are the Signs Perimenopause is Ending?