In the UK, 51 is the average age for a woman to reach the menopause, although some women experience the menopause in their 30s or 40s.
If you experience the menopause before the age of 40, it's known as a premature menopause.
Menstruation (monthly periods) can sometimes stop suddenly when you reach the menopause. However, it's more likely that your periods will become less frequent, with longer intervals between each one, before they stop altogether.
What causes the menopause?
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body's sex hormones.
In the lead-up to the menopause (perimenopause), oestrogen levels decrease, causing the ovaries to stop producing an egg each month (ovulation). Oestrogen is the female sex hormone that regulates a woman's periods.
The reduction in oestrogen causes physical and emotional symptoms, including:
In women under 50 years of age, the menopause is diagnosed after 24 months without a period. In women aged 50 or over, it is diagnosed after 12 months without a period.
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