The whole Menopause transition varies from woman to woman. Depending on this it can be divided into four main stages
Premenopause - this refers to entire normal reproductive period of a woman’s life from the time of the first menstruation cycle to the last regular menstrual period.
Perimenopause - this refers to the transition phase when a woman passes from regular periods to irregular periods and happens for a few months or years before attaining full stoppage of menstruation. It is usually experienced by women from 35 to 50 years of age. During this stage a there are hormone fluctuations and this causes the typical menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.
Menopause – this itself refers to a stage when the women’s reproductive life comes to an end and a woman can no longer get pregnant naturally. At this point the ovaries stop producing eggs and the menstruation cycle stops permanently. The two reproductive hormones – estrogen and progesterone production decreases permanently to low levels
Postmenopause – refers to the period in a women’s life after one year from the time of the last menstrual cycle. From here a woman will be postmenopausal for the rest of her life.
Premature Menopause and Male Menopause
Menopause usually comes after the age of 45 years but some woman experience it sooner i.e. before the age of 40 and this is called ‘Premature Menopause’.
In this context it should be mentioned that although there is nothing like male Menopause or now called Andropause but some men do experience similar symptoms that women experience in Menopause.