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Menopause Average Age

Menopause average age is around 51 years - which simply means that this is the average age when a woman can expect to have her last menstrual period.

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When medics talk about 'menopause', they are referring to the end of menstruation, that very last period.

But people often also use 'menopause' as a blanket term for the long transition, when hormonal changes gradually kick in that ultimately lead you to stop ovulating and menstruating. Strictly speaking, this phase is the perimenopause. You might start noticing menopause signs, including perimenopause weight gain during this phase.

51 is the average age of menopause
ŠIstockphoto.com/W A Britten

If you're wondering how long does menopause last, the answer is that the entire transition can take as long as 20 years, but many women will notice the first real changes to their cycle in their early forties, and their periods will end somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55.

Early and premature menopause

An 'early menopause' is when periods end before a woman is 45, while in premature menopause, they cease while she is still under 40.

Early or premature menopause can be caused by surgery. If your uterus is removed (hysterectomy), but the ovaries are left in place, you'll have your menopause, because you can't have periods once the womb is gone. You might not have the typical menopausal symptoms straight away though, because your ovaries will continue to produce oestrogen.

If you have a hysterectomy during which both ovaries are also removed (oophorectomy), you'll have an immediate menopause because the main source of oestrogen in your body has been lost. The same is true for women who are treated for cervical cancer with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, both of which damage the ovaries.

A menopause which is brought on so abruptly is likely to have more severe symptoms than a natural menopause.

Smokers are also likely to have the menopause earlier than non-smokers.

Your menopausal pattern might also echo that of other women in your family - but this doesn't always happen.

Although the menopause average age is 51, it can come earlier, and for some women much earlier, even in their thirties. This is something to be aware of, if you hope to have children in your thirties, or even your early forties.

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