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Stages of Menopause

Did you know that there are several stages of menopause?

For many, the word menopause is used to designate the time when a woman begins to feel symptoms up until the time these symptoms end

Menopause itself is defined as "the time in a woman's life in which menstrual cycle ends".

You are not officially in the menopause stage until you have gone 12 consecutive months (a full year) without a period.

So if menopause is just a point in time when you stop having periods, what are all the rest of the times called where you experience most of the symptoms?

Well there are actually different stages of menopause. Below outlines each of these stages.

Premenopause

Of the different stages of menopause, this first stage is called premenopause.

Premenopuase has sometimes been used to explain the point just before menopause or for early menopause.

However, this is actually the stage in which your are fertile. pregnant woman

This is your reproductive stage where your body is producing eggs and the proper levels of hormones.

During this stage a woman's reproductive system is active and healthy. This stage is from your first period to your last.

Often this stage is not even counted when talking about menopause and symptoms.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause and premenopause are often used to describe the same stage.

However, perimenopuase is the stage immediately preceding menopause and lasts on average 4 years.

You may only experience perimenopause for a few months or it could last for up to 10 years.

During this stage you will start to experience menopausal symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings and much more due to a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels.

This decline accelerates during the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause.

While it is difficult to tell exactly when you have started this stage of menopause, certain signs can be present such as irregular periods.

This stage generally occurs in a woman's 40s but can happen in their late 30s to early 50s.

This stage ends when a you have gone a full year without a period which officially marks menopause.

Menopause

Menopause is more of a milestone (if you want to call it that) versus a stages of menopause. This is the point in time when you have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period.

This is the stage where your estrogen and progesterone levels have decreased permanently to extremely low levels.

woman having hot flash holding fanAt this point the ovaries have stopped producing eggs and you would no longer be able to get pregnant naturally.

Although you no longer have monthly periods, and you have hit this milestone in the stages of menopause, this does not mean the symptoms have stopped.

In fact, you can experience hot flashes, night sweats and more for another 1 - 2 years on average and up to five years.

A woman is usually between the ages of 45 to 60 for this stage.


If you hit menopause before age 35, this is considered premature menopause which is discussed further on this page.

Post Menopause

Post menopause is the last and final stage. This is the point in time after a woman has officially reached menopause.

You will be in this stage for the remainder of your life. At this stage most of the symptoms are over or are declining, however, you may still experience some changes and symptoms.

In addition to other health issues women may experience due to their age, a woman in post menopause is also at a higher risk for osteoporosis due to the decreased hormone levels.

The decreased estrogen levels means less absorption of calcium.

Premature Menopause

Premature menopause, or early menopause, is not an official stage of menopause but worth mentioning.

If a woman reaches menopause before age 40, this is considered early menopause.

This can occur because of genetics, illness or medical procedures such as a hysterectomy or other female procedures.

Although a woman can reach menopause naturally before the age of 40, it is still considered premature menopause.

In addition to understanding the stages of menopause, check out these changes during menopause to get a full understanding of what you may experience.

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