Taking care of your reproductive health

Menopause, or the “change of life,” is different for each woman. For example, while hot flashes and sleep problems may trouble your sister, you could have a new sense of freedom and energy. Your best friend, meanwhile, might hardly be aware of a change at all.

What is menopause?

Menopause is a normal part of life, just like puberty. It is the time of your last period, but symptoms can begin several years before that and can last for months or years after. A full year without a period is needed before you can say you have been “through menopause.” Postmenopause follows menopause and lasts the rest of your life.

Menopause doesn’t usually happen before you are 40, but it can happen any time from your 30’s to your mid 50’s or later. The average age is 51. Smoking can lead to early menopause.



Content courtesy of the National Institute on Aging. The original content and additional information can be found at and

Revised: June 7, 2011

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