If you haven't had a period for 12 months, and there are no other possible causes, such as disease, stress or a medication side effect, then you can consider yourself officially in menopause, or menopausal. The average age for menopause is 51. But the process really begins eight to 10 years before you officially hit menopause, as ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. Known as perimenopause, this is typically the beginning of hormonal imbalances that can last up until a year following menopause, or possibly longer in the phase known as postmenopause.
Forty million U.S. women this year will begin "the change" or be just coming out of it. That's why we've gone to some of the best Cleveland Clinic docs for their advice on the myriad ways you can effectively manage this life transition and, believe it or not, even become healthier during this time.