Menopause is the milestone in every
woman's life that marks the end of her reproductive years. Most (95%) of all
women begin the transition to menopause (perimenopause)
between ages 39 and 51. On average, women start perimenopause around age 46,
with an average of 5 years until menstruation ends. After 1 year of no
menstrual periods, a woman is said to have reached menopause.
The average age of menopause is between 50 and
51. In 95% of all women, it occurs between the ages of 44 and 56.1
Menopause before the age of 40 (spontaneous
premature menopause) is rare, affecting about 1% of women in the United
Genetic factors can be a strong
predictor of when menopause will occur. If your mother had an early or late
menopause, you probably will also.1
Cigarette smokers experience menopause an average
of 1.5 years earlier than nonsmokers.1
Women living at high altitudes experience an
Menopause can also be caused by surgical removal of the
ovaries, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis.
Speroff L, Fritz MA (2005). Menopause and the
perimenopausal transition. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 7th ed., pp. 621-688. Philadelphia:
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
May 4, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 04, 2010
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