Despite an increased life expectancy, better diet, and better health care, the average age at which a woman begins to experience menopause, or the cessation of menses, has not changed for a few hundred years.
Most women begin menopause around the age of 50, but some can start in their mid- to late-30s, while some do not begin menopause until they are almost senior citizens.
For four years or so before menopause begins, the vast majority of women will go through a transitional stage called “perimenopause,” marked by unusual menstrual cycles and fluctuating hormonal levels.
After perimenopause, menopause will ensue; menopause is a permanent condition that cannot be altered, though symptoms caused by decreased hormonal levels can be treated through hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.
Women who smoke, who are depressed, and who have endured extended periods of financial stress are all more likely to enter menopause at an earlier age. Some women who are in the early stages of menopause are turning to HRT: hormone replacement therapy can ease the transition into menopause and does not seem to create other health conditions like heart failure or high blood pressure.
The first stages of menopause can include changes in body temperature, hair loss, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and changes in the frequency or duration of the menses. Menopause solutions can include HRT or other medications, and many women report cessation of symptoms when undergoing menopause treatment.
What causes pelvic pain or other symptoms in one woman may not affect another, so consulting a health care professional is essential for many women who think that they may be starting to go through menopause. For severe symptoms associated with perimenopause, HRT remains a popular option for many women.
There is no cure for menopause: it is a natural process that occurs in women of a certain age. However, there are medical options to reduce pain and hormonal fluctuations, and many women are eager to try hormone replacement therapy as a medical option.