How does natural menopause occur?

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How does natural menopause occur?

Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women undergoing natural menopause, the process is gradual and is described in three stages:

  • Perimenopause or “menopause transition”: Perimenopause can begin eight to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women may experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can get pregnant.
  • Menopause: Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
  • Postmenopause: This is the name given to the period of time after a woman has not bled for an entire year (the rest of your life after going through menopause). During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, may ease for many women. However, some women continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after the menopause transition. As a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Medication, such as hormone therapy and/or healthy lifestyle changes, may reduce the risk of some of these conditions. Since every woman’s risk is different, talk to your doctor to learn what steps you can take to reduce your individual risk.

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