Menopause Health Center

As the age of menopause varies among individual women, it can be difficult to predict exactly when onset will begin. While the average age of menopause is 51, it could start in a woman's 40s through her late 50s.

Experiencing symptoms may be the strongest sign of menopause. When you reach middle age, pay close attention to your menstrual cycle and note any irregularities or changes. These could be an early sign of menopausal onset. Slight changes to the body such as weight gain, thinning skin or stiff joints may go unnoticed at first, but these symptoms combined with hot flashes and changing periods may be the symptoms needed to confirm menopause.

Because some complications and additional health conditions — including osteoporosis and heart disease — can develop with the onset of menopause, it is important to watch out for signs of menopause so you can ask your doctor how to prevent these issues.

If you are a smoker, watch your body for signs of menopause even before age 50, as the habit can increase your chances for early menopause. If your periods begin to arrive close together, you are experiencing heavier bleeding, you have spotting or your periods are lasting longer than one week, visit your doctor — these symptoms may be signs of internal complications.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 2, 2012
Last Updated:
August 22, 2014