I asked my Dr. / close friends when menopause will start, they keep saying it depends.

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2 comments

  • Shannon@gennev.com

    Hello! This is Shannon, a member of Team Gennev.

    We see this question A LOT! I'm not a doctor, but as one who's done considerable research into menopause, I can tell you the following about menopause age:

    The truth is, when you’ll start the menopause transition is a difficult thing to determine.

    Most women are perimenopausal (experiencing symptoms but not yet fully menopausal) starting in their early to mid-40s and fully menopause (one year with no period) by around age 51 in the US. But that’s not true of everyone, so let’s talk factors:

    1. Genetics. This is a biggie. The age at which your closest female relatives (mom, sisters) experienced menopause can be a helpful indicator. However, it might not, as well, depending on some of the other factors below.
    2. Smoking. Smoking can actually affect your ovaries, accelerating decline and prompting menopause a year or two earlier. While ending periods might sound nice, this is shortening the time your body has the natural protections and benefits of estrogen, so it’s harder on your bones, heart, and brain, among other things.
    3. Chemotherapy. Women who’ve undergone chemo for cancer treatments may find themselves in menopause earlier.
    4. Medications. Women with estrogen-positive cancers such as breast cancer may be given drugs that suppress estrogen production, bringing them into menopause sooner. In some cases, when the woman stops the drop, menses can return, meaning she may experience a second menopause.
    5. Ovarian surgery. Obviously an oopherectomy (removal of ovaries) will bring on menopause pretty much immediately, but even surgeries that affect the ovaries, such as for endometriosis, can damage ovarian tissues and trigger menopause early.

    Other things that might impact menopause age: severe caloric restriction in youth, being overweight, having lower socioeconomic status, and having fewer years of formal education.

    What does NOT affect menopause age?

    Age at first period — it was long thought that if you started periods early, you’d end them early, but that doesn’t actually hold true. Being pregnant or breastfeeding don’t impact age at menopause, nor does using birth control pills or an IUD. Also, race and ethnicity probably aren’t factors either — there’s as much variability within racial groups as there is among them.

    There’s not a great deal a woman can do to postpone or accelerate menopause, but there are certainly ways to manage, even alleviate, some of the worst symptoms. Gennev HealthFix subscribers get access to a team of menopause experts to help take back control of their health and quality of life!

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  • rdunsmoorsu

    Hi there, this is Dr. Rebecca. I really wish we could give you a better estimate of when menopause will start for you, but we don't have a question, survey or blood test that will tell us. Some folks have tried to associate various blood tests used in fertility monitoring, but they just are not precise enough!

    What factors play into when menopause will happen? A lot depends on genetics, so your mother and grandmothers' experiences may give you a hint. There are direct impacts such as surgery or cancer treatment. Some women with autoimmune disease can go into it a bit earlier. 

    What you can look for are some of the earlier signs, such as periods getting first closer together then starting to space out. This is a good hint you are 2-5 years away.  Some of the more subtle signs in terms of mood, brain fog, even joint pain can show up a few years before you'll notice period changes. And remember, every woman is different and you may just stop one day with no warning!

    I don't know if I gave the answer you wanted to hear, but we try to stick to the facts, ma'am. Hope this helps.

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