Menopause is quite simply the final pause of menstruation. This phase of a woman's life is part of the natural aging process. It is not a disease or a disaster. Your ovaries slowly reduce the level of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) they produce and child bearing is no longer an option. For many women this is a big relief. Generally speaking, health professionals agree that 52 is the average age when full menopause takes affect. The full age range is between 42 to 56.
Menopause is preceded by perimenopause and followed by post menopause. All three stages come with their own telltale signs with considerable overlap from one to the other. So, unlike the beginning of your period, which seems to happen in a single moment of time, menopause is very wishy washy. Full menopause is considered to be in effect when you have not had your period for a full year.
Menopause is not experienced by all women in the same way. Much depends on the individual's diet, lifestyle, genetics and attitudes held by the woman, her family, culture and society about aging. Be aware that our commercialized society will try to medicalize your symptoms. Be wise. Look for natural alternatives before getting on the pill band wagon. Weigh the risks and benefits carefully. Become your own authority.
There is a home-use test that you can take to determine if you are perimenopausal or fully menopausal. U.S Food and Drug Administration approved kits measure Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in your urine. FSH is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland. FSH levels increase temporarily each month to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. When you enter menopause and your ovaries stop working your FSH levels also increase. The test will provide a FSH level reading so that you can determine what stage of "the Pause" you are at. (daysoftheyear)