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When Does The Menopause Start and End?

dr sally bell specialist Aug 04, 2022

During the menopause, a woman transitions from her childbearing years to her post-reproductive years.There are three stages – the perimenopause, menopause and postmeno-pause, each of which is recognised as separate by western medicine. The stages are not always distinct, and symptoms from one stage may carry through to the subsequent one.

The perimenopause is the first stage. It’s sometimes referred to as the meno-pause transition and begins anytime from a few months to 10 years before menopause. During the perimenopause, your ovaries slow down the production of the key sex hormones - progesterone, oestrogen, and testosterone. This change in hormone levels influences your body in several ways.One of the most notable signs, though not always the first, is a change to your periods. They may become heavier before becoming lighter, or you may experience spotting between periods.

Menopause follows the perimenopause. This is recognised medically as the date 12 months after your last period.

The postmenopause is the final step in the transition away from your child-bearing years. The production of sex hormones continues in other parts of your body, but many, if not all, menopausal symptoms settle down. You’ll enjoy a new balance after the hormonal disruption of previous years, and the calm after the storms of the perimenopause and menopause.

The perimenopause is the first stage of transition from a woman’s childbear-ing years. Peri, meaning near, denotes the early stages of menopause.Throughout this initial stage of the menopause, the ovaries begin to stop working. Not only in producing eggs that can be fertilised to grow into a baby, but also in producing our key sex hormones progesterone, oestrogen, and testosterone.These hormones influence every area of our body and, although they carry on being produced by our other organs, our bodies need to adjust as their levels decrease.And, while we adjust to this new balance, the perimenopause may come with physical, mental, and emotional challenges that can make this stage of life much more difficult.

The timing, length, and symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause are unique to each individual.The menopause is generally associated with women in their 50s. However, perimenopause symptoms may appear in a woman’s mid-40s. Most of us will notice changes around the age of 47.The time between the perimenopause starting and ending can be anywhere between a few months and, for some, up to 10 years.

The perimenopause ends when the menopause starts; this is recognised as the date 12 months after your last period, and the average age in the U.K. is 51.However, perimenopause symptoms and the associated changes can con-tinue into the menopause because it takes time for our bodies to adjust to the new, lower levels of progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone.Once we have adjusted to the new hormone levels, our bodies settle down and we can enjoy a more positive physical, mental, and emotional state.

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