Most people, especially many women or those assigned a vagina at birth will experience menopause around a certain time of their life. While menopause is a natural part of the aging process, the menopausal experience is different for everyone, despite many people sharing similar symptoms.
Knowing that no two people will have the same experience with menopause would also mean that the time of menopause, or perhaps rather the age at which menopause may begin can be different for each person.
While there are some indications that menopause usually starts around 52 years for women in the United States, perimenopause may have begun several years prior, anywhere between 42 and 45 years.
Although this is an average estimate, there are instances where many women may start perimenopause during their late 30s and transition into menopause during their 40s. The age at which a person might start menopause is often influenced by a variety of things, including hormone levels changes that may begin fluctuating at any given time, although it’s important to know when does menopause start and how long does it last.
Importance of Understanding When Menopause Starts and Its Duration
Studies of menopause suggest that the menopausal transition period typically begins around the ages of 45 and 55. During this time, people may transition from perimenopause, around their late 40s into menopause, closer to the age of 55, and usually around 52.
There are three main stages of menopause, each is different, and a variety of changes may take place during each. For starters, perimenopause, the earliest sign of menopause, will cause some changes to bodily function, including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
Secondly, menopause is the time when most changes begin to take shape. During this age, women tend to experience more severe menopausal symptoms, including mood changes, irritability, itchy skin, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and insomnia.
Finally, in postmenopause, menopause symptoms begin to wane, although the presence of some symptoms may still be common, although not as severe as during menopause. In postmenopause, people will still experience some discomfort, such as vaginal dryness, itchy skin, thinning hair, and tender breasts, among other symptoms.
The transitionary period might take place over several years, with some experts suggesting anywhere between seven and fourteen years. More importantly, these years account for the year before menopause - perimenopause - with symptoms starting roughly five to ten years before menopause.
Average Age of Menopause
Considering each stage of menopause, and how long before a might begin to experience menopausal symptoms, the average age of menopause is usually around 52 years. This is however dependent on various factors and external influences, including women’s health conditions, and any other existing illnesses.
Factors Influencing the Onset of Menopause
Several factors may influence the onset of menopause, although declining levels of estrogen and progesterone, two of the most important hormones, are often the biggest cause of changes a person may experience over the course of menopause.
Other things such as diet, exercise, and general health and well-being may also play a role. The onset of menopause may be influenced by cultural differences. Some research suggests that the difference in cultural diets, such as between Asian and American diets may influence hormonal fluctuations and the severity of menopause symptoms.
For example, research suggests that a diet consisting of damaging fats and low fiber may lead to an increased level of estrogen, causing a bigger decrease in estrogen as the ovaries begin to produce less of the hormone. This is in comparison to an Asian diet, that consists of more phytoestrogens and isoflavones, commonly found in soybeans.
While the conclusion is yet unclear, some expect that Asian diets would contribute to a less severe drop in hormonal imbalance during menopause, causing more mild menopausal symptoms.
Aside from this, accessibility to healthcare services, including an OB/GYN may further influence the onset of menopause, especially among people living in more rural and less-developed regions.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
The typical time that menopause lasts is anywhere between seven and fourteen years, with the average being roughly nine years.
Variations in the Duration among Individuals
Clinically, menopause is expected to begin at least one year after a person experiences their final menstrual period. Typically, experts suggest that a person may experience irregular menstrual cycles leading up to menopause, however, going 12 consecutive months without a period marks the transition between perimenopause and menopause.
Other variations may occur in people who have undergone surgery, which may reduce ovarian functions and influence hormone production. A person might have their uterus removed, or receive cancer treatment, which may lead to adverse menopause symptoms following the surgery.
Take a Look At How Long Does Menopause Last?:
Factors Affecting the Length of Menopause
In some instances, experts suggest that age is one of the biggest factors that affect the length of menopause. However, other factors may include:
- Menarche age
- Use of oral contraceptives
- Diet and intake of vitamins and minerals, incl. Vit D and E
- Long-term menstrual cycles
- Genetics and family history
- Obesity levels
- Consumption of alcohol or dangerous drugs
There are several things a person can do to cope with the severe symptoms of menopause. Here’s a few of them:
- Get enough Vitamin D and Calcium.
- Introduce more nutritious and mineral-rich foods into your diet.
- Exercise is important, even for 30 minutes per day.
- Frequent visits to an OB/GYN or medical professional.
- Try to use natural lubricants during sexual intercourse.
- Make time for pelvic floor exercises.
- Avoid using products and food that contain synthetic chemicals.
- Continue or introduce a thorough skincare routine.
- Avoid environments with temperamental weather, either too hot or humid.
- Drink a lot of water during the day.
- Prioritize your sleep as much as possible.
How To Know If I'm Starting Menopause?
If you or someone you know have gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you might be entering menopause. Irregular menstrual cycles may be frequent leading up to menopause, often during the perimenopause phase. Look out for other symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, itchy or dry skin, loss of hair or thinning hair, weight gain, increased feelings of anxiety or depression, or excessive tiredness.
How To Know When the Menopause is Over?
During postmenopause, a person will no longer have a regular menstrual period. More than this, during postmenopause, some symptoms may become less severe, however, there are instances where people may continue to experience some menopausal symptoms even after several months of being in postmenopause, however, these symptoms may be more mild.
Menopause is a natural occurrence, and while it’s not possible to stop menopause from happening, it’s important to know when a person might be approaching the age of menopause, and what strategies a person can incorporate into their daily life to help them cope with the symptoms.
While menopause is often viewed as a time of increased discomfort, finding suitable treatments and remedies to help alleviate some of the symptoms can help a person continue living an ordinary life, without having to fret over the severity of their menopausal symptoms.