by Cate Misczuk

Menopause is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and thus the end of her fertility. This natural stage in life happens to every woman, usually in her 40s or 50s, according to the Mayo Clinic. In the United States the average age a woman hits menopause is 51, but when you hit menopause is mostly based on genetics, so it can happen to you earlier or later than that.
For that reason, it’s important to educate yourself on the stages of menopause so you know what to look out for. It’s also important to note that just because a woman hits menopause, that doesn’t mean she can’t lead a healthy, and sexual, life. Understanding how menopause affects your body, and the treatment you can seek for any undesirable changes, will help make this transition smoother.

Stages of menopause

Menopause doesn’t just happen overnight. In fact, it happens to women in three stages.
Perimenopause. This is the first stage of menopause, and it’s defined as the time when your menstrual cycles start to become irregular. WebMD says during this time you can still get pregnant, but you may start to experience menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Menopause. A common misconception is that menopause happens overnight. But WebMD explains that menopause is measured as the year following your last period. WebMD says for this reason you won’t know that you’ve hit menopause for sure until it’s been a year since your last period. But during this time, you’ll experience the symptoms like vaginal dryness and sleep problems that will indicate you’re going through this change.
Postmenopause. After a year of having no menstrual periods, you are officially postmenopausal, according to WebMD. Continue…

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