Menopause actually means end of menstruation. The term is used to mark the years in a woman’s life, after menstruation stops taking place. When does it occur? The answer will vary from one woman to another. Multiple factors will have to be taken in consideration to determine when the reproductive cycle years are going to finish.
What Is Menopause?
Medics define menopause as the period that starts after a woman has gotten her final menstrual bleeding. This process is accompanied by various physical changes. Menopause can start as early as the age of 40. Other women can stop having their period after the age of 60.
Menopause is a natural biological process. Hormonal changes determine its onset. Many women fear it, but menopause is not a medical condition. It is a natural part of life.
What determines the age at which menopause does start? The whole process is hormone-triggered. And female hormones act differently in each organism. As a result, marking a specific age at which menopause should start is impossible.
Some interventions and special factors can lead to the early onset of menopause. Hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus, without removal of the ovaries) can lead to early menopause.
Chemotherapy and other types of aggressive medical treatment can also interfere with natural processes in the body and lead to earlier than expected menopause.
The natural menopause starts when the ovaries decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone.
These changes cause the end of menstrual bleeding. If a woman continues having irregular periods, she has not reached the stage of menopause yet. Menopause’s onset can be confirmed for certain if a woman has had no menstrual bleeding for a period of 12 consecutive months.
When Does Menopause Start: Key Determinants
Factors that affect the beginning of menopause are mainly hereditary. Most women can experience menopause at approximately the same time as their mothers and grandmothers.
Smoking is another factor that affects the age at which menopause takes place. Medical research confirms that women who smoke usually experience menopause several years earlier than their peers. Yet, external factors play a smaller role than genetics when it comes to menopause and age.
Medics have been unable to establish a connection between the age during which the first menstrual bleeding took place and the menopause of a woman. Also, many people believe wrongly that menopausal age is affected by race, number of children born and the usage of contraceptive pills.
No medical research has confirmed any of these claims.
It is important to note that the ceased hormonal production does not affect a woman’s femininity and sexual desires. Menopause is in no way connected to changes in sexual experiences.
Some heart diseases and other conditions of the cardiovascular system have been associated with the earlier onset of menopause. Experiments confirm the fact that higher levels of cholesterol in the blood are connected to an earlier menopausal age.
Menopause is a natural process but there still to be way too many questions about it. Don’t hesitate to talk to your ob-gyn about the condition. The more you know and the better prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to address the changes your body is going through and to address those in an adequate way.