What’s the average age for menopause?

by | Dementia, Hormone Health, Women's Health

Dr Norman Swan

Physician, journalist & broadcaster

Menopause can start at an early age for some women. If you symptoms are bad you can consult your doctor and begin hormone therapy.

Menopause can start, from actually quite a surprisingly young age. There are some women who can have menopause in their 30s, premature menopause. Some people, some women can get it into their 50s.

So there’s a wide range, probably of 20 years, 15 or 20 years when menopause can come on. And in terms of how long it lasts, some women barely notice they’ve had menopause. Their hot flashes and feelings like that, very transient, they’ve hardly noticed them at all. And some women are quite surprised when their periods suddenly stop. Some women get lots of symptoms with hot flashes. They get lots of problems with their periods, and pain and so on, and have quite a rough time. And so then that can last years. It can last four or five years, but eventually it does settle down.

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For those women who do have quite bothersome symptoms, you can go on hormone replacement. There are risks to hormone replacement, but if you’re only going to go on it for a year or two, those risks are pretty minimal, and they do relieve the symptoms. But be aware, hormone replacement therapy is to treat the symptoms of the menopause. It doesn’t improve your brain, protect you against dementia, protect you against heart disease. Just set your expectations right.

If you’re really bothered with your symptoms, HRT will relieve those symptoms, and it does it very well.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist