Menopause is a normal and expected time in a woman's life when her monthly menstrual cycle ceases. The average age of a woman's last period is 51 but can range from her 40s to late 50s. Symptoms of menopause can last months to years due to varying changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, female hormones created in the ovaries.
This transitional time of change is known as menopausal transition or perimenopause. Typically, perimenopause lasts for one year following a woman’s last period. After one entire year without menstruation, a woman can say she has been through menopause. Postmenopause follows menopause and lasts for the remainder of a woman’s life.
Menopause can sometimes be triggered earlier with smoking and certain types of operations, including hysterectomies or the removal of the uterus.