Asked by Cheri, California
I have just turned 55 and am still having a regular, clockwork period every single 28 days. It lasts only three to four days, but it is still there! Is there any danger in having this go on so long? I was approximately 13 years old when I started, and here I still am! I have no symptoms of menopause at all.
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
Thank you for your question. Also called a woman's "change of life," menopause marks the time in which one's periods stop (defined in retrospect after having no menstrual cycles for a full year) and eggs are no longer produced by the ovaries.
Most women reach menopause after age 45, with the average age being around 51 years old. About 90 percent of women undergo menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. Of the remaining 10 percent, about half have menopause early, between 40 and 45 years of age, while the other half experience late menopause, after the age of 55. The age at menopause depends on your genetics, race and ethnicity, and may also be affected by the number of children you have had and whether you are a smoker.
One of the signs that you may be entering menopause is the fact that your periods are relatively short. Other signs you may soon see include hot flashes, night sweats, thinning hair, difficulty focusing or remembering, and having a greater spacing between your periods. However, it is also possible to have a heavier flow and more frequent bleeding before stopping one's cycles. Some women do not show many symptoms of menopause and just gradually stop their periods over the course of several years.
If you are concerned about your lack of menopausal symptoms, be sure to check with your primary care physician and/or gynecologist, who can help determine whether your condition is normal or if an evaluation needs to be performed. I wish you the best of luck.
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