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How Long Does Menopause Last?

Updated February 21, 2017

Menopause is medically defined as the last menstrual period of a woman's reproductive life, generally assumed to have occurred when she has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. Menopause may also be defined as when both ovaries have been surgically removed, as in a hysterectomy, or they have been damaged to the point that they no longer function. Menopause may bring on certain unpleasant side effects, including hot flushes and night sweats.

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Time Frame

The first sign of the onset of the change of life in a woman's reproductive life cycle is called perimenopause, which can occur from the mid-30s to the late 50s, and beyond.

Duration

Perimenopause typically lasts six years. It is marked by the beginning of the first change in the menstrual cycle and extends to one year after the final menstrual period.

Prevention/Solution

Menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes and night sweats, may be greatly affected by such factors as lifestyle, diet, family history and stress.

Features

Natural menopause, also known as spontaneous menopause, occurs on average at age 51.

Misconceptions

There is no definitive or even normal time when menopausal symptoms cease. Most women will experience hot flushes and/or night sweats for five to six years after menopause, but it is not uncommon for women to continue to have these symptoms well into their 70s.

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About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.

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