I really wanted to touch on this subject for a few reasons. Obviously I am not concerned that I am going through menopause. I am not even 30 yet. But the thought has crossed my mind that I don't know when it will happen.
The average age to begin menopause is 51 according to most of the research I have done. You can go by genetics as well. Typically if your mother and grandmother started "the change" early, chances are, you will too. Here is why I have thought about it, my mother and grandmother both had a hysterectomy before reaching the age where they might start menopause. Having a hysterectomy doesn't always cause menopause. If your ovaries are left intact they will still produce the necessary hormones. If your ovaries are taken out with your uterus you are immediately in menopause!
What is menopause exactly? We already know that it is basically when a woman stops having menstrual cycles. It is actually defined by this: Once you have gone a full year without a period you have gone through menopause. However the unpleasant mood swings, dryness and hot flash symptoms can start much sooner than you think!
Let's talk about hot flashes and symptoms briefly. Current theories suggest hot flashes are due to a drop in the body's level of estrogen. This drop affects the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates body temperature. In a hot flash, the hypothalamus seems to sense that your body is too hot even when it is not, and tells the body to release the excess heat. Most of the time hot flashes can begin as early as 2 to 3 years before the last menstrual period. They can last for 6 months to as long as 15 years after the final period. The average is two years. More symptoms include: irregular cycles, mood swings, thinning hair and sleep disorders!
I am not looking forward to these times but as I turn 30 next month and begin to feel "old" I will probably think about them much more.