Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem?

Call 1800 022 222

healthdirect Australia

This is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Is it an emergency? Dial 000

If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

Menopause is the time when a woman's monthly periods stop

Menopause is the time when a woman's monthly periods stop
beginning of content

Menopause

Menopause (also known as the change of life) is the time when your body changes and you become infertile.

It is a natural event which happens to every woman. It occurs when your ovaries stop working and you stop producing the usual amount of two important female sex hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. It is this change in hormone levels that causes the symptoms of menopause.

The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 52. But any time between 45 and 55 years old is considered normal.

Women who have had both ovaries removed will go through menopause earlier.

Periods during menopause

Many women find that their periods become lighter during menopause, although some may experience heavy bleeding. They may also experience an erratic pattern, which may last two to five years before periods stop completely (see ‘perimenopause’).

When a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 months, she is considered to have been through menopause.

Pregnancy is still possible during menopause. So if you are going through menopause and don’t want to become pregnant, keep using contraception even after your last period – one year should be enough if you’re over 50, but two years is recommended if you’re under 50.

Early menopause

Menopause that happens earlier than the ‘expected’ age of around 50 years is called premature or early menopause.

Some medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and genetics conditions, can cause the menopause to happen much earlier, sometimes when a woman is in her ‘20s or – in extreme cases – in childhood. This is known as ‘premature ovarian failure’ (POF).

There are ways to ease the symptoms of early menopause – talk to your doctor.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about the menopause, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 505 results

Menopause - premature and early menopause | Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Premature and early menopause | Jean Hailes

Menopause that happens earlier than the expected age of around 50 years are called premature and early menopause. This may be due to primary ovarian insufficiency where the periods spontaneously stop, as a result of chemotherapy treatment for cancer or s

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Menopause | myVMC

Menopause is the term used when women permanently stop having menstrual periods. It can be diagnosed after one year with no periods following the final menstrual period(FMP). Menopause may occur naturally, or may occur due to chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

About menopause | Jean Hailes

Menopause means you have had your final menstrual period, but how do you know when your last period has occurred? What menopause is, what happens at menopause, what happens to your hormones at menopause and whether there is a way of diagnosing menopause a

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Causes of menopause | Jean Hailes

Menopause is defined as the final menstrual period. Menopause occurs when there has been a change in a womans reproductive hormones and the ovaries are no longer able to release any eggs. Menopause can occur naturally and at the expected age, prematurel

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Menopause symptoms | Jean Hailes

Symptoms of menopause generally include hot flushes, vaginal changes and mood swings. There are other physical and emotional symptoms of menopause but no one woman will experience menopause in the same way. Culture, general level of health and wellbeing,

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Menopause | Jean Hailes

Menopause is defined as the final menstrual period. It occurs when there has been a change in a womans reproductive hormones and the ovaries no longer release any eggs. Menopause can occur naturally and at the expected age, prematurely or early. Periods

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Menopause and Sleep

The Sleep Health Foundation is a non-profit organisation and Australian public advocate for sleep health and aims to improve people’s lives through better sleep.

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

Sleep Disturbances in Menopause | myVMC

Women are more likely to experience sleep disturbances in the menopausal period than at other times of life. Poor quality sleep is a common complaint amongst menopausal women, of whom 2550% report sleep difficulties, compared to some 15% of the general population.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Sex After Menopause | myVMC

Changes in sexual feelingsduring and after menopause are caused byhormonal and psychosocial changes, and can be permanent.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback