Let's Talk About Menopause

We've got the doctor-approved details on menopause causes, symptoms, treatments, and a jillion other facts and tips that can make life with menopause easier—and less sweaty.

    Our Pro PanelMenopause

    We went to some of the nation’s top menopause experts to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Diana Bitner, M.D.

    Diana Bitner, M.D.OB/GYN and author of  "I Want to Age Like That! Healthy Aging Through Midlife and Menopause"

    Monica Christmas, M.D.

    Monica Christmas, M.D.Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Menopause Program

    UChicago Medicine
    Juliana (Jewel) Kling, M.D.

    Juliana Kling, M.D.Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Chair of Research in the Division of Women’s Health

    Mayo Clinic
    Menopause statistics, average age periods end, percentage with early menopause, number of American women with menopause, number of months that pass without a period, number of years perimenopause can last
    Nikki Cagle
    Signs and symptoms of menopause graphic
    Nikki Cagle
    Menopause self-care graphic
    Nikki Cagle

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMenopause

    What is the average age of menopause?

    51, but it varies from woman to woman. Pre-menopause—a period of time when symptoms begin but during which you still have your period—can begin in your mid-30s. Only a small percentage of women go through early menopause, which is considered before age 40.

    Can you get pregnant after menopause?

    When you’re in true menopause—your periods have stopped with no interruptions for a full 12 months—you are no longer fertile and cannot get pregnant. But don’t throw caution (or a condom) to the wind if you’re in perimenopause (you have menopausal symptoms but still get a period, even if only sporadically): At this point, your reproductive hormones and functional eggs are declining, but it is still possible to get pregnant.

    Does menopause cause weight gain?

    As we age, our metabolism slows down, and we begin to lose muscle mass, so we need to consume fewer calories (but often don’t). The lower estrogen levels that are a part of menopause also cause our metabolism to get sluggish, so it’s a double whammy. Add in menopause’s typical sleep issues, and you may exercise less and snack more. No matter what the cause, the fix is familiar: Eat fewer calories, avoid sugar and simply carbohydrates that quickly convert to sugar, and exercise as regularly as you can.

    My periods are now irregular—sometimes I skip a month or even two. Am I in menopause?

    Not yet, but it looks you’re headed that way (barring some medical reason for a lack of periods). If you’re beginning to experience more time between your periods, lighter periods, or just a general “I’m not sure what in the heck is happening with my periods!”, you’re likely in perimenopause—think of it as the lead-up to menopause. It can last a few months or a few years. True menopause is defined as when your periods have stopped altogether for one year.

    Sara Faye Green

    Sara Faye Green


    Sara Faye Green is a writer who has contributed to Women’s Health, Vice, Guernica, The Rumpus, HuffPo, and elsewhere.