What Is the Average Menopause Age?

It comes as no surprise why menopause is often called “the change of life.” It LITERALLY changes a person’s life⁠. Exciting, right?! Although menopause symptoms aren’t all rainbows and butterflies, The Big M is not only manageable but ushers in a great new life stage full of possibilities. So, let’s look at the bright side. Menopause marks the end of monthly PMS. Say goodbye to excruciating cramps, uncomfortable bloating, extreme food cravings, and unbearable tata tenderness. Did I say “bright side?” I should have said “bright SIDES.” The secret to being the boss of the signs and symptoms of menopause? PREPARATION. Let us start by answering the simple yet important question: “What is the average menopause age?”

menopause age

Why Does Menopause Occur?

Why does the Big Change, well, change us, in the first place? Estrogen is a hormone that plays a chief role in fertility. To be more specific, it influences the thickness of the uterine lining. The uterus builds up during the reproductive cycle to ensure that the fertilized egg can take hold of the uterine wall. Estrogen production declines with age. As the ovaries make less estrogen, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular and eventually comes to a full stop. Is this what we refer to as menopause? Not right away. Menopause is a stage in life when a formerly menstruating person goes an entire year without menstrual bleeding from, ya know, down there. 

What Is the Average Menopause Age?

Wondering when you’ll enter the stages of menopause? You’re not alone. This is a popular question among midlifers. The average menopause age is 51. However, it can also happen at an earlier or later age. Generally, people will enter perimenopause around the age of 45. They often exhibit mild and short-lasting symptoms, such as irregular periods, mood changes, and insomnia. As menopause gets closer, they will likely experience more intense symptoms like hot flashes, chills, and night sweats. The final stage of menopause typically happens at or around the age of 55. Some of the symptoms one feels when transitioning to menopause may stick around for a few years, but eventually disappear. Some people in postmenopausal years undergo new symptoms, including but not limited to dry or thin skin and hair, vaginal sensitivity (like vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence), and pelvic floor muscle problems. Basically, your up-there and your down-there may continue to feel the effects of menopause long after Aunt Flo has departed.

How Do You Know If You Are Nearing Menopause?

Trying to identify the tale-tell signs of menopause? We’ve got you covered. Hot flashes are the most common menopausal symptom. The experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine share that about 75 percent of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Your mind might flashback to the time when you felt hot during ovulation. If so, hold your horses! Hot flashes are different than feeling hot during ovulation. The latter causes your basal body temperature to rise by 1°F or less within twenty-fours. Some fondly refer to this feeling as “period flu.” However, the rise in basal body temperature is not considered a “hot flash.” A hot flash is a wee bit more intense, like a holy-crap-on-a-cracker-I-think-I-might-spontaneously-combust kind of temperature increase.

Hot flashes may also cause sweating (because duh), heart palpitations, dizziness, and red or blotchy skin. They may come once or multiple times a day. Besides hot flashes, menopausal symptoms also include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Vaginal dryness or urinary incontinence
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain or slowed metabolism
  • Thinning hair or dry skin
  • Bone loss
  • Cognitive changes
  • Itching

I make it sound so glamorous, don’t I? If, as the saying goes “beauty is pain,” then we’re gonna feel capital-B BEAUTIFUL.

Did You Know That Menopause Has Three Stages?

Wondering what The Big Three are? Here you go: Perimenopause, Menopause, and Postmenopause. One of the common myths about menopause is that it’s a one-time occurrence ( Cue the *EHHHHHHH – WRONG* buzzer sound). Menopause is a journey that consists of these three stops, each with its own signs and symptoms:

  1. Ready, set, perimenopause. Your body enters the menopause transition stage. You are not in menopause, but you begin to feel its physical symptoms. As your body produces less estrogen, you get less frequent visits from Aunt Flo. So, don’t worry if your period skips a month and returns or skips several months and starts monthly again for the next months. Aunt Flo isn’t just a messy guest, now she’s an inconsistently messy guest. You may also experience dryness down there. The length of perimenopause varies for each person. It can be a few months or years before you hit menopause. Because why shouldn’t unpredictable periods happen for an unpredictable amount of time? 
  1. Welcome to natural menopause. Menopause is the destination, or what some consider the peak of the journey. And as we all know, the *journey* is the *destination,* yeah? Aunt Flo has stopped visiting you for the past twelve months. Your body finally said, “Hey, you’re not welcome here any more!” 
  1. It’s time for the denouement postmenopause. The years following menopause are known as postmenopause. Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, may ease for many people. However, some may continue to experience menopausal symptoms ten years or more after menopause.

Are Menopause Symptoms the Same For Everybody?

Have you wondered if you experience the menopausal journey the same as others? The answer is a resounding, “No!” Menopause symptoms are not the same for everybody. Each person who goes through the menopausal stages may experience different symptoms at varying degrees. Some may have few and mild symptoms (the lucky ones), while others may have more frequent and severe symptoms (the less than lucky ones, also referred to as “menopausal warriors”). Nevertheless, the symptoms mentioned above are the most common menopause symptoms.

What is the Difference Between Early Menopause and Premature Menopause?

Is it possible to start the Big Change before the age of 40? Oh yeah, it is. Premature and early menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing hormones and menstruation cycles come to a halt at a younger than average age. The only difference between the two is the age when menopause happens. Premature menopause happens before the age of 40, while early menopause comes before the age of 45. Both can either happen naturally or due to a medical reason. However, the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that only about 5 percent of women experience natural premature or early menopause. The rest are due to:

  • Smoking
  • Chemotherapy or pelvic radiation
  • Oophorectomy (ovary removal) or hysterectomy (uterus removal)
  • Certain health conditions (e.g., HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease, etc.)

Premature or early menopause can pose a risk to your health. They are associated with a shorter life expectancy and may increase your chances of developing heart disease, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis or bone fracture, and depression. No joke, if you are still in your 30s and feel like you might be having symptoms of menopause, then talk to your doctor immediately.

Is Age the Only Factor That Influences the Onset of Menopause?

What else impacts your menopausal age? Aside from the age your body naturally enters the stages of menopause, poor lifestyle practices and medical reasons are the primary influencers of a person’s menopausal age.

Now that you know the factors that influence menopause, you should also know what instances do not cause menopause. These are as follows:

Age at First Period

Getting your period at an early age does not mean you will also experience menopause early. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Despite variations worldwide and within the U.S. population, the median age at menarche has remained relatively stable—between 12 years and 13 years—across well-nourished populations in developed countries. Environmental factors, including socioeconomic conditions, nutrition, and access to preventive health care, may influence the timing and progression of puberty. A number of medical conditions can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, characterized by unpredictable timing and a variable amount of flow.”

In other words, just because you “bloomed early” doesn’t mean your pollen will stop spreading early as well.

Hormonal Birth Control Methods

Birth control may stop ovulation, but it does not delay menopause. The follicles continue to die even if you are not ovulating. Not sure if this is a bummer or a relief. Guess it’s just . . . a fact.

Race or Ethnicity

The prevalence and severity of menopausal symptoms considerably vary across different races or ethnicities. However, the differences are not innate and may be caused by environmental factors. Regardless of race or ethnicity, the average menopause age for the majority of people still remains at 51.

Are There Complications After Menopause?

Once you hit menopause (meaning that you no longer have menstrual cycles), does that mean you are home-free and won’t have any additional signs and symptoms? As Randy Jackson used to say, “That’s gonna be a “no” from me, dawg.” Lower levels of estrogen put menopausal people at risk for certain health problems. Examples include the following:

Cardiovascular disease

According to Mayo Clinic, the risk of cardiovascular disease (e.g., heart attack, stroke, heart failure) increases as estrogen levels decline.


You may quickly lose bone density during the first few years after menopause, leading your bones to become brittle, weak, and susceptible to bone fractures.

Urinary Incontinence

Menopause causes the tissues in your vagina and urethra to lose elasticity. This can lead to vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, and urinary incontinence. 

Poor Sexual Health

Loss of elasticity and decreased moisture can result in discomfort during sex, as well as decreased sensation, leading to low libido.

Weight Gain

Metabolism slows down during perimenopause and postmenopause.

Can You Delay Menopause?

Who doesn’t want to postpone their menopause age and onset date? I, for one, am in that camp. But, experts seem to be divided on whether or not this is possible. According to WebMD, menopause can be sped up but not slowed down. However, a 2018 study suggests otherwise. Diet can actually affect menopause age. In particular, eating a high amount of oily fish and fresh legumes and taking vitamin B6 and zinc can delay natural menopause. So, bring on the anchovies and beans!

It’s a Wrap!

Menopause is an NBP (Natural Biological Process). Like wisdom and increased time spent in Florida, it is inevitable with age. Although the average menopausal age is 51, some people may start manifesting symptoms before the age of 40 or between the ages 40 and 45. However, menopause at this age range is rarely a natural phenomenon and is mostly caused by medical reasons. 

Knowing the average menopause age helps you prepare, both in social and health aspects of your life. Knowing when menopause generally occurs lets you know how much longer you have to be fertile (hellooooo, baby-making). More importantly, it helps you identify when to seek professional help. Natural menopause before the age of 40 is rare. If your menopause starts at that age, it is best to consult your doctor to determine any underlying causes. And hey, for reasons stated in other posts, it’s best to consult your doctor when you start experiencing symptoms at any age!



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