During menopause, your body undergoes many changes.

Preparing for these changes and symptoms you can experience may be easier if you understand the process your body is going through.

Natural menopause occurs when:

  • Your ovaries naturally stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone
  • You go 12 consecutive months without having a period
  • No other biological or physiological cause can explain the missed periods

Surgical menopause begins immediately after surgery to remove both ovaries. (This may be part of a total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy.)

After surgical removal of your ovaries, you no longer have menstrual periods, and your body no longer produces estrogen.

The sudden estrogen loss may quickly lead to many of the same menopausal symptoms that women face in natural menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal symptoms. For some women, those symptoms can be more severe than those experienced through natural menopause.

When does menopause begin?

Menopause begins at different times for different women, but most can expect it between the ages of 45 and 55. Whether you have reached menopause naturally or it has occurred due to surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries (called a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy), this loss of estrogen can result in a variety of physical symptoms.

Menopause Symptoms

Some symptoms that women experience as they age are related to menopause and decreased activity of the ovaries. Other symptoms may be related to aging in general. Scientific evidence of a link to menopause is strongest for the following symptoms:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats (also called vasomotor symptoms, because they involve the expansion of the blood vessels)
  • Vaginal dryness, which can lead to painful intercourse.

Some women also may experience problems with reasoning or remembering things. This may be related, in part, to changes in estrogen during the menopausal transition.

It is not certain whether the following symptoms are due to menopause, other factors that can come with aging, or a combination of menopause and age-related factors:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Physical complaints, such as tiredness and stiff or painful joints
  • Changes in mood, such as depression, anxiety, and/or irritability. These symptoms are similar to premenstrual syndrome.

Oops! We could not locate your form.