Menopause | Overview

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What is menopause?

Menopause is when a woman’s menstrual periods permanently end. It happens because, as a woman ages, her ovaries make less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These are the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. The timing of actual menopause is different for each woman, but it's normal for menopause to occur any time from age 40 to age 59. Menopause is a gradual process that can take a number of years.

Perimenopause is the term for the 3 to 5 years around the time of menopause and before your final period.

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Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.

Portions of this content were developed with general underwriting support from Nature Made®.

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 01/96

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