The Stages of Menopause
There are three main stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause:
- Perimenopause starts when your body’s estrogen production begins to slow. A woman can begin to feel menopausal symptoms, even though she still has a period. This stage can last 4 to 5 years, and ends 12 months after your final period.
- Menopause defines the end of menstruation in a woman’s life, which officially starts 1 full year (12 months) after your final period.
- Postmenopause begins at the same time as menopause (when it has been 1 year since your final period) and lasts for the rest of your life. Many women will be around 51 when postmenopause begins.
During these stages of menopause, your body makes less and less estrogen. As a result of low estrogen levels, the areas of the body that are normally maintained by estrogens may change or atrophy (the thinning of tissues). These areas include the ovaries, uterus, vagina/vulva, and urinary tract. These changes typically start during menopause and may continue after.
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