Early Stages of Menopause is a normal, natural event—defined as the final menstrual period and usually confirmed when a woman has not had her period for 12 consecutive months (unless there are other obvious causes). Menopause is associated with reduced functioning of the ovaries due to aging, resulting in lower levels of estrogen and other hormones. Occurring on average around age 51, it marks the end of a woman’s ability to bear children. Some women experience an earlier age for a variety of reasons.
Moving from the reproductive years through menopause and beyond, a woman experiences many physical changes caused by both menopause and aging. Some normal changes include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and vaginal dryness. Changes that can occur due to age include diabetes, thyroid disorders, sleep apnea (disordered breathing, high blood pressure, and an increased risk for heart disease and certain cancers). For women who also have an unhealthy lifestyle, high stress or unlucky genes, the changes due to menopause and aging can be particularly challenging.