As women, we share many experiences, and one of the most significant is the journey into menopause. But when does this journey begin? The question, "What Age Does Menopause Start?" is more than just a curiosity – it's a shared concern. Unfortunately, like the weather, it’s difficult to predict with absolute certainty. There are lots of factors to take into account. 

So, let's look into when menopause starts.

The Menopause Forecast: Predicting the Unpredictable

First things first, let's talk averages. Menopause typically begins between ages 45 and 55, but the average age hovers around 51 (1, 2). However, this isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario - just like when you get your first period, timings, signals, and symptoms are down to nature's lottery. 

Some women can start menopause before the age of 40. This is called premature menopause and it's relatively rare. On the flip side, there are 'late bloomers' who don't start menopause until after the age of 55.

Monitoring symptoms throughout your menstrual cycle and perimenopause can help you to understand your body and see the changes as they happen. Tracking your lifestyle history can help you understand what might happen in the future and also be aware of any new symptoms that might indicate the start of perimenopause or the move into menopause. Wild.AI helps women going through all life stages to help turn their hormones into their superpowers through tracking, monitoring and visualization of data. 

Genetics: The Family Crystal Ball

Your family history can be a crystal ball into your menopausal future, as genetics play a part in determining the age when menstruation starts (3). If your mom, aunt, or sister waved goodbye to their periods at a certain age, you might too. Some studies have suggested that Menopause age can be linked to certain chromosomes, but like most things in female health, there are more studies needed to be certain (3).

Lifestyle and Health: Plot Twists in the Menopause Starting Age

Factors like smoking, chemotherapy, and certain surgeries can usher in early menopause (4,5). It's like these factors are cutting in line, bringing menopause to the party earlier than expected. On the flip side, factors like later pregnancies (6)  and lower alcohol intake (7) might delay its onset.

What to Expect When You’re Starting Menopause?

Menopause doesn't just show up unannounced. It sends its little messengers first – irregular periods, hot flashes, and mood swings. This period, pun intended, is called perimenopause, and it's like the dress rehearsal before the main event. For example, a common symptom is Irregular periods, which might start at 45 for many women (8).

Estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that have been your dance partners since puberty, start to fluctuate during perimenopause. It's like they're suddenly changing the dance steps, leaving you feeling a bit out of sync. This hormonal shift is like a rollercoaster for our bodies. We might experience mood swings that feel like we're auditioning for a soap opera, and hot flashes that could compete with tropical climates. These changes can also affect bone density too. It's a time of change, but understanding the roles of estrogen and progesterone can help us navigate the changes to our bodies.

Riding the Wave: Managing Symptoms

While you can't control when menopause starts, you can manage the ride. Healthy lifestyle choices, like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management, can make this transition smoother. Apps like Wild.AI can help you log the symptoms you’re experiencing and understand what happens. This can help you see trends in how you feel but also feel more in control of the change that’s happening.

When to Seek Guidance

If you're experiencing symptoms that feel more like a hurricane than a gentle breeze, or if menopause seems to be knocking on your door earlier than expected, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help navigate these changes and provide solutions tailored to your unique needs. You should also speak to your HR department at work if you feel comfortable doing so. Many businesses are embracing menopause in the workplace through programs and support to improve the experience of the women they employ. In fact, at Wild.AI, we work with companies who are doing just that, so reach out on social media or email if you want to find out more.

Embracing the Change

Menopause, much like going through puberty, can be an awkward and confusing time. But you'll get through this too. It's an annoying but natural part of life, signalling a new phase full of potential. Remember, every woman's experience is as unique as her fingerprint – and that's something to embrace!

So, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of the start age of menopause. Whether you're an early bird, a late bloomer, or right on time, remember this: menopause is not an end, but a transition into a new and exciting stage of life. Stay informed, stay healthy, and most importantly, keep going.

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  1. Gold, E. B. (2011). The timing of the age at which natural menopause occurs. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 38(3), 425–440. 
  2. te Velde, E. R., Dorland, M., & Broekmans, F. J. (1998). Age at menopause as a marker of reproductive ageing. Maturitas, 30(2), 119–125. 
  3. Kok, H. S., Asselt, van, Schouw, Y. T. van der, Peeters, P. H. M., & Wijmenga, C. (2005). Genetic studies to identify genes underlying menopausal age. Human Reproduction Update, 11(5), 483–493. 
  4. Mikkelsen, T. F., Graff-Iversen, S., Sundby, J., & Bjertness, E. (2007). Early menopause, association with tobacco smoking, coffee consumption and other lifestyle factors: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 7(1). 
  5. Morris, D. H., Jones, M. E., Schoemaker, M. J., McFadden, E., Ashworth, A., & Swerdlow, A. J. (2012). Body mass index, exercise, and other lifestyle factors in relation to age at natural menopause: Analyses from the breakthrough generations study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 175(10), 998–1005. 
  6. Ceylan, B., & Özerdoğan, N. (2015). Factors affecting age of onset of menopause and determination of quality of life in menopause. Turkish Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 12(1), 43–49. 
  7. Grisotto, G., Farago, J. S., Taneri, P. E., Wehrli, F., Roa-Díaz, Z. M., Minder, B., Glisic, M., Gonzalez-Jaramillo, V., Voortman, T., Marques-Vidal, P., Franco, O. H., & Muka, T. (2022). Dietary factors and onset of natural menopause: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Maturitas, 159, 15–32. 
  8. Treloar, A. E. (1981). Menstrual cyclicity and the pre-menopause. Maturitas, 3(3–4), 249–264. 


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