What is natural menopause?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Natural menopause is the term used to describe the stage in a woman's life when menstruation stops and other changes occur, which usually happens around age 50. Natural menopause is usually a gradual process that takes place over a period of years.

Not all women experience natural menopause, however. Younger women who have their ovaries removed for any reason will enter menopause immediately. This transition is known as surgical menopause or induced menopause. In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause an abrupt onset of menopause too.

Natural menopause means that your periods have stopped naturally for at least a year. We make the distinction because menopause can also be initiated by a medical or surgical treatment. Most women experience natural menopause somewhere in their 40s or 50s. It occurs slowly over the course of a few years as the amount of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones produced in the ovaries begins to fluctuate and your ovaries stop releasing eggs. Although it is uncommon, younger women can experience early menopause.

Mrs. Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Natural menopause is the time in a woman's life when her periods (menstruation) eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow for pregnancy. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55. And for some women can be incredibly upsetting and emotionally traumatic. Not to mention the sometimes extreme side effects of menopause that can last years.

During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop making eggs and they produce less estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones cause menopause symptoms. Periods occur less often and eventually stop. Sometimes it happens suddenly. Most of the time, periods slowly stop over time and symptoms will go on for years. Menopause is considered complete when you have not had a period for 1 year. This is called postmenopause. Women who are postmenopausal can no longer get pregnant.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.