Advertisement

When does menopause occur?

It can begin before you turn 40, but many women continue to menstruate well into their 50s or 60s. The average age for U.S. women having their last period is 51. Your mother’s age at menopause is highly predictive of yours.

Menopause is a natural process, not an event. It proceeds slowly, often lasting 8 - 10 years. It begins when your body slows down its production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that set the stage for pregnancy.

Ovulation and menstruation become irregular. Some months you may ovulate and have a period; other months you may not. You may also experience other symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, weight gain, and mood swings -- problems that you may initially attribute to your diabetes.
Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Menopause occurs most commonly in Westernized countries at an average age of 51, with a typical range of 45 to 55 years of age. In some countries, such as in India and the Philippines, the average age of menopause is much lower, about 44 years old. The reason for this is unclear. Women who have had a hysterectomy and are thus unable to have menstrual periods can be diagnosed as reaching menopause with a blood test that measures the level of follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, which increases during the menopause.
Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine
Menopause is defined as occurring one year after a woman's last period. The average age of menopause is 51, but the physiologic processes surrounding the ovaries' retirement usually begin when a woman is in her midforties.
Menopause is the definite end of menstruation and fertility, usually occurring during your 40s or 50s (average age is 51). The main cause of menopause is the natural decline of reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) until eventually, fertility diminishes and ovaries stop producing eggs, therefore terminating periods. The physical and emotional symptoms of menopause include irregular periods, low energy, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, sadness, mood changes, weight gain, anxiety, dry skin, and thin hair.
Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
In specific medical terms, menopause in the last menstrual period. When a health care provider asks a woman when she had menopause, the date of the last menstrual period is what is being asked. In the United States the median age of menopause is 51 years. Half of women will have their last period before this age and the remaining half will have the last period after this age.
However in everday life we often refer to the whole menopausal transition as "menopause." 
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

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 pregnant. 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.

Darcy N. Bryan, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Most women enter the menopause stage at an average age of 51. In this video, Darcy Bryan, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, explains when a women can expect to show symptoms of menopause. 

Continue Learning about Menopause

Menopause: To Sweat or Not to Sweat
Menopause: To Sweat or Not to Sweat
When you're suffering from hot flashes, the last thing you want to do is work up a sweat. But research shows that it could be just the ticket to saili...
Read More
How can I manage the effects of menopause?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Menopause can pose physical and mental challenges. In this video, Dr. Linda Lee and I discuss altern...
More Answers
5 Ways to Lose Weight During Menopause
5 Ways to Lose Weight During Menopause5 Ways to Lose Weight During Menopause5 Ways to Lose Weight During Menopause5 Ways to Lose Weight During Menopause
Even though your body is changing, there are proven ways to drop those unwanted pounds.
Start Slideshow
When Should I See a Doctor for Menopause Symptoms?
When Should I See a Doctor for Menopause Symptoms?

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.