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.