Menopause typically begins around age 50, but onset can happen any time between a woman’s mid-40s and into her 50s, according to WebMD. A full year must pass with no monthly menstrual period for a woman to be considered menopausal.
Perimenopause, the two-to-eight year transition period that leads up to menopause, begins for some women in their 30s, and for others, not until their 50s, explains WebMD. The ovaries start to reduce the amount of estrogen produced, and many symptoms associated with menopause occur, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, insomnia and breast tenderness. In the last two years of perimenopause before her ovaries stop releasing eggs and her periods totally cease, a woman often experiences skipped or irregular periods.