Menopause --When Should Your
Period Stop?
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April 20, 2010, last updated September 8, 2013

By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor

[
Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board
.]






Do you remember the first time you had your period? Maybe
it came by surprise or maybe you had been waiting
nervously. Menopause mirrors this time in your life, there is
always a girl in class who starts her period first and one that
doesn’t get her first period  until much later.

Some women will go through menopause earlier than others
and then there are those who will be having periods until
their late 50’s.


The U.S Department of Health and Human Sciences defines
menopause as when a woman does not have a period for 12
months in a row. The ovaries stop producing as much
estrogen and progesterone. When your body is changing,
and until you’ve gone 11 months and 29 days without a
period, this is known as the "perimenopause" stage.
Menopause is in fact only one day -- the day that is exactly
12 months since you’ve had your last period, the time after
that is the postmenopausal stage.


The U.S Department of Health and Human Services say that
the average age to start perimenopause is between 45 and
55 but some women will start the process as early as 35. The
University of Maryland says that  perimenopause can start up
to 10 years before actual menopause. According to the
University of Virginia, there are some factors which may
contribute to an early menopause such as smoking and
never having given birth.


According to the Mayo Clinic, the reason that your periods
become irregular during perimenopause is because your
ovaries produce varying amounts of hormones each month
--- sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.































It is important when you notice changes in your cycle to
keep a diary.  With a busy life and years of dealing with
periods it may be difficult to remember information that
could be important. Has it been 4 or 5 months since my last
period? It's easy to lose track.

According to the National Institute on Aging, the average
age for a woman to stop her menstrual cycle is 51. This
means that most women experience their last period 12
months before and they are 51 years old when they are
entering their post-menopausal stage.


Many women these days are entering menopause later. The
main reason for late menopause is the use of  Hormone
Replacement Therapy (HRT) to lessen the effects of
perimenopause such as
hot flashes and mood changes. This
in turn delays when they would naturally experience
menopause.

Is a Late Menopause Dangerous to Your Health?

Does a late menopause put your health at risk? A Women’s
Health Institute of Texas study in 2002 found that women
who delay their menopause by using hormone replacement
therapy or who naturally have a late menopause,  experience
an increased risk of cancer. The women in the study  ranged
in age from 58 years old to 65 years old.

Other studies have reached the same conclusion. In 2012, a
group of researchers based in the UK called the Collaborative
Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer published its
findings that linked breast cancer risk with delayed
menopause.

After examining the health records of 118,964 women with
invasive breast cancer and 306, 091 women without the
disease, the group discovered that your risk for developing
breast cancer increases by 1/2 of a percent for each year of
delayed menopause.  Interestingly, your risk for breast
cancer increases the earlier your period begins when you're
young also.  Stepping back and looking at the results, it
appears that what is really going on is that the longer your
body is exposed to an estrogen-triggered cancer, the higher
your risk for developing breast cancer.

However, a study completed by John Hopkins University in
2003 found that late menopause was linked to
decreased
mental decline later in life.


Bleeding After Menopause

Any bleeding after menopause should be investigated by a
doctor. It indicates a higher
risk for pelvic cancer. The
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
recommends going to see your doctor if you experience any
bleeding after menopause as this could be a symptom of
cancer.


If your periods have stopped for 12 months , you are
technically in menopause. If you experience any bleeding
after that it is important that you visit a physician. It could
be related to a hormone fluctuation but it could also be more
serious.


So, what is the answer to the question "when should my
periods stop"? Basically, anytime between 45 and 55 is
‘normal’ and 51 is statistically normal. If you reach 60 and
are still having periods you should see your doctor in case
there are other factors affecting your menstrual cycle.



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Cancer Fighting Foods
How to Lose Weight After Menopause
Pelvic Cancer-Symptoms and Treatments /
Osteoporosis- Top 10 Natural Remedies /
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