Every woman will have a unique and individual menopause journey, and research shows that it will happen between the ages of 45 and 55. In reality, some women start before that, and some later. This age group is just the most common for it to occur.
The pros tell us that once you’ve been clear of periods for a year, you’re post-menopausal. So in fact, your menopause is a specific day. New research is actually telling us that you need to be clear of periods for 2 years before menopause has arrived. This is certainly true if you’re under 50. And don’t forget, if you haven’t had a year clear of periods, or 2 years, don’t stop using contraception! After that, you’re post-menopausal, and are for the rest of your life.
Perimenopause is the time leading up to your menopause day. (‘Peri’ means ‘around’.) They say that perimenopause can last from 2 to 10 years, but research has shown that figure to be variable.
The age you start perimenopause may be hereditary. So find out when your mum, grandmother, older sisters or aunties started theirs; it could be a clue for you to expect to sense your own changes. In fact, these changes can begin to occur for quite a while before you notice them. It’s not until they affect our daily life that we realise something’s happening!
There are, however, certain things that can bring perimenopause on early, like smoking, being overweight, hysterectomy, and some chronic health conditions. Also, if you have a double oophorectomy, where both ovaries are removed, this will trigger menopause, whatever your age, and professional help is a must at this time.
The severity of symptoms will also be unique to each. Some women sail through hardly noticing changes, while others are completely debilitated and unable to leave the house, although that, thank goodness, is a lower percentage!
Let me know if you want to chat about your symptoms.
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I’m not a qualified clinician, dietician, or psychologist. I write based only on my own experiences and research into menopause. J Wood