How long does the menopause last?

Menopause facts and figures

Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

Are you pre-menopausal?

Pre-menopausal means the time up to the beginning of the peri-menopause. The term pre-menopausal is also used to define the time up to the last menstrual period (which you don’t know is the last one until 12 months later), so it’s not very precise. If you like, it’s the run-up to the run-up to your last period, during which time you may start to get the first clues that your menopause is on the horizon.

Are you peri-menopausal?

The peri-menopause is the time around menopause during which menstrual cycle changes are occurring but a whole 12 months of amenorrhoea has not yet occurred. You may have stopped your periods, but you haven’t yet had 12 months of no-periods, so you can’t officially claim to be post-menopausal. During this time many combinations of symptoms are experienced by different women, although some may just stop their periods and experience nothing else – anything is possible!

Are you post-menopausal?

When you have your last menstrual period you officially become post-menopausal. Obviously, you don’t know it’s your last period until you’ve had a year of no periods. Even then, you may have another couple later on, but officially you can claim to be post-menopausal after 12 months of no periods.

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How long will it last and when will it start?

How long you will spend in each of these phases is completely individual.

We can give you averages, such as, ‘Most women experience the majority of their symptoms over a 2-year period of time’, but that will just annoy those women who find themselves still up to the eyeballs in hot flushes after 5 years.

It’s just the same when giving averages for starting the menopausal process.

The average is around 52 years old, but many women start in their 40s and some not until their late 50s, so really you just have to see what happens for you.


The menopausal process per se is not an illness, but as hormone levels shift many symptoms can be experienced by the mid life woman, who already has quite enough on her plate.

The most common symptoms are linked to falling oestrogen levels.

Low oestrogen symptoms:

There can be other reasons for these symptoms though, so it’s always best to check with your doctor to get tests done.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

Learn the truth behind other menopause myths

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