Menopause Symptoms by Age

We often think of menopause as consisting primarily of a few specific symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, etc.). In reality, the menopause transition can result in dozens of symptoms for women. These symptoms are often determined by age, and the journey of a woman experiencing perimenopause may be different than one going through actual menopause or postmenopause.

While the average age of actual menopause (12 months of no menstruation) is between 45-51, perimenopause symptoms can begin as early as the mid-30s. The difference in these symptoms will often be dictated by the production of estrogen and progesterone, which gradually slows to the point of near cessation during menopause. During perimenopause, these hormone levels fluctuate, which can lead to surges and subsequent physical and psychological effects.

If you’ve started experiencing menopause symptoms, no matter what age you may be, here are some things you may experience based on your age.

Early Menopause (Approximate Ages 40-45)

Menopause Symptoms by Age
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Approximately five percent of women go into early menopause, experiencing symptoms between the ages of 40 and 45. Some of the symptoms they experience may include:

  • More than three consecutive missed periods
  • Abnormally light or heavy menstrual cycles
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Inexplicable weight gain
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness

Early menopause can either occur naturally or be caused by interventions such as ovarian surgery, certain types of cancer treatment (chemo or radiation), and autoimmune conditions. In extremely rare cases (approximately one percent), women may experience premature menopause in their mid-20s.

Perimenopause (Approximate Ages 45-50)

Perimenopause represents the next phase of the transition. It’s when estrogen and progesterone production starts to slow even more, and the journey toward actual menopause is expedited. Common symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in libido
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hair loss
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Urinary issues

While fertility will start to change during perimenopause, it’s still possible to get pregnant. Around the ages of 50-55 is when you’ll either be in or on your way to actual menopause. These symptoms will continue as your body produces less and less estrogen and progesterone. You may want to talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or explore other options.

The transition from perimenopause to menopause generally takes around 12-36 months. During this time, you may go a few months without having your period, only to have it start up again. Once you’ve gone 12 months without menstruating, you’re in postmenopause.

Postmenopause (Approximate Ages 55-60)

During postmenopause, you may experience some of the same symptoms you did during previous phases of the transition, including but not limited to:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Urinary incontinence

You’re also at increased risk for osteoporosis, so it’s important to work with your doctor to assess your individual risk and develop a prevention or management plan accordingly.

Each woman enters the stages of menopause at different times in their life. Pay attention to your body, keep working with your doctor, and get educated about the transition. Responsum for Menopause is here to serve as a comprehensive resource to better empower during your menopause transition. Download the app today!