Menopause. Which age does the craziness start?
Like many things in midlife, Menopause took me completely by surprise. One minute everything was regular as clockwork. The next, things seemed to be going awry and I started to question my sanity. It was a little while before I put two and two together started to wonder is this it? Is this the start of Menopause? Which age does this craziness kick in? Am I old enough? What’s happening?
According to the statistics, most women will experience menopause somewhere between age 40 and 58. This averages out around 51.5. Some women experience it much earlier or later than this.
The confusing thing about going through Menopause is that you don’t officially know its happened until after the fact. Menopause is defined as your last period and is confirmed when you haven’t had a period for 12 months. However, it isn’t even as cut and dried as that. The time period leading up to this, Perimenopause, is a time of hormonal upheaval and change.
Like me, you may not realise what’s happening at first.
However, even though I was solidly within the menopause age bracket I put my increasingly random periods down to other things. Was it stress? Was it due to the cancer treatment I was going through at the time? I even panicked I might be pregnant and took a pregnancy test at one point!. To my confused mind Menopause was something that happened to “older women”. I was frankly in denial.
It wasn’t until I googled “menopause what age does it start?” and saw that 48 was solidly in the right age range that I realised that some of the odd symptoms I had been experiencing all made sense.
What are the first signs of Menopause
When you are travelling through Perimenopause, there’s a whole shopping list of symptoms you might experience. These include.
- Irregular periods.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Hot flashes.
- Low libido
- Night sweats.
- Sleep problems.
- Mood changes.
- Brain Fog
- Weight gain
- Slowing metabolism.
Some of these, for example, the hot flashes, are what we all associate with Menopause. However, what I found most troubling were the subtle insidious symptoms that at first, I didn’t associate with going through the Menopause.
The irrational anger. The lack of sleep. The slowly sloping off libido. The absolute decimation of my memory, leaving me wandering into a room with absolutely no idea why I had gone there and what I was doing.
I did really think I was going mad at one point and had something seriously wrong with my brain. These kinds of symptoms can really make dealing with life and work very difficult.
Thankfully, once I realised what was happening I could work around it and make changes which helped to balance things out. I’ve written another post about the things which helped me smooth things out again during the menopause process which you can read here.
Menopause – What Age Does it Start and Finish?
Which factors predict the age your menopause will start?
Interestingly, during my research, I discovered that there are factors which can help you predict the age you will go through menopause yourself.
Mothers age at menopause
The biggest of these factors is the age your mother went through her menopause. Menopause is very strongly genetically linked so you are likely to experience it within a few years either way of the age your mother was. Looking at the women in your family, mother, aunts and grandmother, can give you a reasonably accurate guide.
I never spoke to my Mum about menopause and sadly she’s passed away now so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this information in regards to my own menopause but it makes sense.
Smoking does a great deal of damage to the ovaries so can actually accelerate the onset age of Menopause by a few years.
Chemotherapy and Cancer Treatment
Chemo is toxic to the ovaries and people often go through temporary menopause whilst undergoing treatment. If periods do return, menopause will still generally happen a couple of years earlier than it would have otherwise.
I think in my own case, although I didn’t have Chemo, the cancer treatment I underwent definitely kickstarted my menopause. The major surgery, radiation treatment and hormone adjustments I went through for Thyroid cancer put a big strain on my body and Menopause symptoms started pretty much immediately. I feel like treatment probably brought my menopause age forward a few years
Any surgery or treatment to the ovaries can damage tissue and bring menopause age forward. This can include things like surgery for endometriosis or ovarian cysts.
What age does menopause stop?
So when can you expect the storm to pass and menopause symptoms to finally calm down? The news isn’t great on this front. According to research, menopause symptoms lasted an average of 7 years in total and 4.5 years after a woman last period.
You can experience stormy symptoms for quite a while before you realise what’s happening, as I did, and these can continue long after your period has stopped.
Hormone levels will be fluctuating wildly during these times which accounts for the crazy rollercoaster most women have to ride. The body is attempting to rebalance itself as estrogen and progesterone slowly power down.
The good news is that generally, your body will finally find its new normal and things will start to calm down as you adjust to new hormone levels.
The Post-Menopausal New Age.
Finally getting through Menopause has a lot of positives for many women. If you have suffered from PMS over the years of menstruation, you may find a calmness now that hormones have subsided to a lower level.
Your sex life can hit a new high now that the fear of pregnancy has gone allowing for a renewed lease of life. Hormone-related issues such as Migraines can improve as well. Incidentally I greatly improved my own Menopause Migraines by cutting back on alcohol. This post details exactly how I did it.
There’s a lot to look forward to helping you grit your teeth and get through the difficult years.
There’s also a lot that can be done these days to help with the symptoms of menopause, which ever age they hit. Bioidentical hormones can help as well as some of the old tried and tested natural remedies for menopause. Please click here to read my post listing some of the things which worked for me.
I wish you a smooth and quick transition through your Menopause whatever your age and hope you discover the peace on the other side of this tricky transition period.
It would be good to hear from you what age the Menopause started for you? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments…
PS – If you need a little extra help, I have compiled a FREE checklist of over 60 natural remedies and strategies which can help smooth you through the Menopause and Perimenopause. Click below to download. x