The Difference Between Perimenopause and Menopause

Lilli Link, MD
Medically Reviewed
January 27, 2021

Well, menopause is actually just one single day. It is the day that marks your 12-month consecutive time without a menstrual cycle. After this, you are considered post-menopausal.

Perimenopause lasts, on average, for 4 years before this final period, but it varies depending on the woman. The average age for menopause in the U.S. is 52 years old , but typically happens between 40 and 58 years old. The age at which your mother experienced menopause may actually be the biggest predictor for your menopausal age.

Lifestyle factors may also influence the age of menopause: smoking, chemotherapy, and major surgeries. Smoking creates free radicals that damage the ovaries and can cause a woman to enter early menopause. Chemotherapy, used in the treatment of certain cancers, is also toxic to the ovaries and may cause early menopause onset. Race may also play a role : Hispanic and Black women reach menopause earlier, and Chinese and Japanese women a little later, on average.

Lilli Link, MD

Dr. Lilli Link is a board-certified Internist and Functional Medicine Practitioner who graduated from medical school at the University of Chicago, and completed her residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

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