As menopause happens at different ages for many females, it is difficult to predict exactly when onset will begin. While the average age of menopause is 51, it could start in the 40s through the late 50s.
Experiencing symptoms may be the strongest indicator for when menopause begins for you. When you reach middle age, pay close attention to your menstrual cycle and note any irregularities or changes. This could be an early sign of menopausal onset. Slight changes to the body such as weight gain, thinning skin or stiff joints may be unnoticeable 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 can begin with the onset of menopause, including osteoporosis and heart disease, it is important to keep watch for signs of menopause so you can consult your doctor and check on 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, have spotting or your periods are lasting longer than one week, consult your doctor as these symptoms may be indicators of internal complications.