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Average age at menopause 52 - but what does that mean?

(17 Posts)
carabos Mon 21-Jan-13 14:24:45

I'm being thick about this I know, but does "menopause" mean "periods have stopped"?

I have read that menopause is when a woman has had no period for a year, so does that mean that 52 is the average at which a woman will have had no periods for a year? <not that I'm counting the days or anything>.

weegiemum Mon 21-Jan-13 14:27:12

I think so. My doctor confirmed I'd "had the menopause" after 18 months with no periods when I was 40, but as I was young, we got hormone tests to confirm.
I know it's young but oh yes! Delighted to be off the monthly hook!!

eatyourveg Mon 21-Jan-13 14:49:25

So does that mean you can't be "going through" the menopause? Is not the going through bit actually the 11 months of no period and the 12th month the finale when you gain your certificate for having survived the mood swings without killing anyone? In which case is the perimenopause when they start to become erratic? I agree it is confusing

PacificDogwood Mon 21-Jan-13 14:53:01

Menopause technically means 'last every period' so you will only every know with hindsight.

A post-menopausal bleed is if you bleed again after not having bled for a year.

Perimeopause is the proper term for 'going through the menopause' - irregular periods, periods heavier or lighter, flushings, sweats, mood swings.
I thought the average age for the menopause in Britain was closer to 50? I could well be wrong. To me that would mean 'age at last every period'.

Why are you asking?

amck5700 Mon 21-Jan-13 14:55:40

I'm confused too. I started having only a couple of periods a year (during summer hols!) 3 years ago but didn't have any this year at all so presumably that's me finished - no periods at all for 18 months - but I still get flushes and managed to put on nearly 3 stone in weight sad I'm 46 now - never been to doctor though.

PacificDogwood Mon 21-Jan-13 16:24:37

I really don't know why most of my 'ever's come out as 'every's, sorry blush.

amck, there are lots of reasons why periods can become wonky, go and see your dr. What age was your mother when her periods stopped? That can give some indication when it might happen for you. If you were 44 when you had your last periods, that's quite young. If it IS due to the menopause, and not, say, an underactive thyroid, then there is a case for you taking HRT until you are around 50.

amck5700 Mon 21-Jan-13 16:31:40

thanks pacific - my mum though still with is is not really with us if you get what I mean. She did have an underactive thyroid though. However, I did have the flushes etc so just presumed. I tend to avoid the doctor if I can smile Heard all sorts about HR and never quite sure if it's a good thing or bad - I kind of thought that if I managed without then that was better?

Horsemad Mon 21-Jan-13 17:24:20

amck you might benefit from a thyroid test especially if your mum has problems as it can be hereditary.

amck5700 Mon 21-Jan-13 17:30:24

...might explain the weight gain too I suppose...though that might just be chocolate grin

Horsemad Mon 21-Jan-13 17:34:49

Yes I was trying to pin weight gain on thyroid but alas it was just choc!!

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 17:40:05

Menopause is the age when you have your last period. So you will only know when you have been period-free for at least a year because they can sometimes be a 12 month or even 18 month gap between periods during the peri meno.

The average age in the UK is 51 and a bit- nearly 52. I have some friends who have had their final period at 44 and others still going strong at 54.

And yes, " going though the meno" means the peri-meno- which is a relatively new term. I suppose the old equivalent was " going through the change" which was terribly euphemistic.

amck just to agree with the other post- if you had your final period at 44 that is considered an early menopause. You should see your GP because you are at rsik from osteoporosis and the advice is that women in your position should take HRT up to the age of 50/51 to replace the hormones you would normally have.

carabos Mon 21-Jan-13 20:18:43

pacific I'm asking because I wasn't clear whether menopause is a process or an event. From the answers here it seems to be an event, with peri menopause being the process.

On that basis, I'm still not very peri menopausal myself - don't seem to have many symptoms.

sydlexic Mon 21-Jan-13 20:24:10

My DM went through the menopause at 65 I hope I don't take after her.

Horsemad Mon 21-Jan-13 20:58:03

OMG sydlexic that would do my head in shock Apparently we do take after our mothers, according to articles I've read, so I hope for your sake you don't!

carabos Mon 21-Jan-13 21:20:24

65 shock. I'd be cashing in my Dignitas vouchers if I thought that was going to happen to me!

PacificDogwood Mon 21-Jan-13 21:22:03

65? Oh my, that is late!

amck, if your period stop much before 50+ then HRT is genuine hormone replacement; it replaced what 'by rights' your body should still be making. So younger women taking HRT don't, as a rule, have any of the risks that might accumulate if you take HRT for a very long time or at an older age, if that makes any sense.
It could of course NOT be your hormones that are making your periods disappear, that's why I suggested to get a full check-up (incl thyroid).

carabos, I see what you mean. Yes 'menopause' is an event. Or rather non-event grin.

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 22:52:24

I can't believe someone had periods up to age 65. Sorry but that would be in the Guiness Book of Records IMO! 56-57 is about the latest for most women and event hat is very late.

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