Just the facts, please!
On average, about 4 years before your final menstrual period, you may go through a phase that includes irregular cycles and significant hormonal fluctuations. This can result in hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and vaginal dryness that can make intercourse uncomfortable. After menopause, other less visible but equally important health changes may occur, including increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
What’s in a name? The phases of menopause
The amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries starts to vary and menstrual cycles become irregular
Typically defined as a time in a woman’s life when she does not have a menstrual period for 12 months in a row
Any time after a woman goes through menopause
By the numbers
Estimated number of US women in 2011 who reached menopause daily
Median age that women reach menopause (age ranges from 45 to 57 years)
Average age when the menopause transition begins
Approximate number of years that the menopausal transition takes
Portion of a woman’s life that may be spent in the postmenopausal phase
Average number of years earlier that menopause occurs in smokers versus nonsmokers