A question that many women ask themselves, especially after 42-45 years when, for some, the first signs that suggest the end of fertile life may appear.
Menopause is a physiological event that affects all women on average between 45 and 55 years and that represents the definitive “rest” of the ovaries . The female reproductive organs stop releasing oocytes, present in a determined number since birth and the whole body changes according to this event, even if the most evident aspect concerns the cessation of menstruation . The uterus no longer needs to prepare every month to accommodate the fertilized egg, so the uterine lining no longer varies cyclically. The engine of all these changes is the hormonal system which has the ability to significantly influence the psyche and body.
Age of menopause:
- Physiological menopause: the normal age for menopause
- Premature menopause: age and causes
- Late menopause
- If you feel menopause is near, consult your gynecologist
Physiological menopause: the normal age for menopause
A woman, on average, sees the definitive cessation of menstruation between the ages of 45 and 55 . Over this long period of time, menopause is considered normal.
On average, starting from the age of 42/45 the first changes begin to manifest, especially in the menstrual cycle which could skip months or return more frequently with more abundant cycles or gradually, more scarce. This phase is typical in perimenopause , the period that lasts a few months, or even a few years, and in which the most well-known disorders of female maturity begin to manifest : hot flashes, insomnia, irritability and often a sudden increase in weight. These complaints may become more subtle or vanish altogether in postmenopause .
We pass from perimenopause to actual menopause after 12 consecutive months of lack of menstruation.
Premature menopause: age and causes
We talk about premature menopause when the cycle stops spontaneously before the age of 45 or after a therapy or surgery that is particularly invasive or that compromises ovarian function. In this second case, the onset of menopause is foretold by doctors as a consequence of therapy or surgery.
Spontaneous early menopause (POF) is an event that affects about 1% of women and that comes after a process that is sometimes long and not at all easy to identify. The path is the same as in the case of physiological menopause: it begins with an irregularity of the cycle that first shortens, causing the cycle to arrive more often than expected, sometimes with rather abundant flows, and then lengthening up to even skip a whole month. Disorders may also be the same with the usual woman-to-woman variability.
If you want to know more and learn more about premature menopause you can read these articles:
- 4 important signs of early menopause
- Premature menopause: how to manage life as a couple
- Premature menopause and intimate disorders
- Endometriosis and early menopause
If you are not yet in menopause and you are already over 55 , you can consider that in your case it is late menopause . It is a situation that does not involve particular problems, although it could increase some risk factors. In particular, a long fertile life, determined by the level of steroid hormones that continue to remain in the circulation for many years, could increase the risk of developing breast cancers .
If your menopause is late, follow all annual checkups and screenings (depending on your doctor’s advice: mammography, tomography, and breast ultrasound ) for complete prevention. It is thanks to the cultural activity on prevention, carried out in recent years by associations such as Lilt (Pink Ribbon), that mortality from this type of carcinoma has significantly reduced.