Menopause actually means ‘when periods stop’. We often think of the menopause as the time of life leading up to, and after, your last period. Your periods may just stop but usually they will become more unpredictable and may even become heavier before they stop. It may take years to go through this change. When you haven’t had a period for more than a year you can consider yourself postmenopausal.
The menopause happens because your ovaries stop producing eggs and you make less oestrogen (the main female hormone). The average age of the menopause in Australia is 51. Your menopause is early if it happens under the age of 45. An early menopause may happen because:
- You have your ovaries removed.
- If you have radiotherapy to your pelvic area as a treatment for cancer.
- Some chemotherapy medicines that treat cancer may lead to an early menopause.
- If you have had your womb (uterus) removed (hysterectomy) before your menopause. Your ovaries will still produce oestrogen. Often your ovaries will stop making oestrogen slightly earlier than normal. It’s hard to tell when this happens because you won’t be having periods anyway, but you may experience other symptoms of the menopause (see below section) when your oestrogen level drops.
- It runs in your family.
- Sometimes we don’t know why it happens.
Also read blogs - Menopause Symptoms and Issues and Menopause Management
(please see reference section)