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The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
- Unknown

 

The Three Stages of Menopause

The Three Stages of MenopauseMenopause is the transition period in a woman's life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, her body produces less estrogen and progesterone, and menstruation becomes less frequent, eventually stopping altogether. There are three phases to the transition, which include perimenopause (when a woman’s body begins the transition); menopause (when you have experienced 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period); and postmenopause (generally 24 to 36 months after your last period, when your symptoms begin to subside). The menopause transition is a natural event that usually takes place between the ages of 45 and 55.
 
Perimenopause is the interval in which a woman's body begins making the natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.
 
Women start perimenopause at different ages. In your 40s, or even as early as your 30s, your may start noticing the signs. Your periods may become irregular — longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, sometimes more and sometimes less than 28 days apart. You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness.
 
Menopause
Once you've gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you've officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over. When you have not had a period for over 1 year, you are no longer at risk of becoming pregnant.
 
Postmenopause 
The years following menopause are called postmenopause. During this time, many of the symptoms of menopause ease for most women; you may regain your energy and feel emotionally normal once again. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and changes in the vagina and bladder.