Menopause is not a sudden change. During the months or years before menopause (perimenopause), your ovaries begin to run out of eggs. Your body makes less estrogen and progesterone. This may bring on symptoms such as hot flashes. You’ve reached menopause when you have not had a period for 1 year. From that point on, you are in postmenopause.
In the years leading up to menopause, your ovaries make less estrogen. You release fewer eggs and your periods become less regular.
Heavier or lighter periods
Longer or shorter time between periods
Urinary changes including incontinence and frequency
After menopause, you make very little estrogen. As a result, the uterine lining does not thicken and your periods have ended.
Menopause can occur after a surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) if the ovaries are also removed. Estrogen and progesterone levels decrease quickly. This may cause sudden and severe symptoms.