Menopause is when you haven't had a period for 1 year or longer
You then have to track back to the date of that last period and this is your Menopause moment - everything that happens after this date is then called Post-Menopause
The last period occurs at different ages for different women - the average age in New Zealand is 51, but the range is anywhere from age 45 to 55.
If menopause happens between the ages 40 to 45, this is called Early Menopause.
If it happens before the age of 40, this is called Premature Menopause or Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (or POI)
Our periods usually don't just stop suddenly.
Instead they become irregular and often more spaced out before they finally fully stop. Once they have stopped for 12 consequetive months, then we can say you have been through the menopause.
If you are over 45 and your periods stop and you have menopausal symptoms, you do NOT need a hormone blood test.
Blood tests for hormone levels are useful for women who go through early menopause - to confirm menopause has actually happened and to rule out other things that can stop periods - such as Thyroid issues or Polycystic Ovary disease.
They can also be useful to confirm when menopause happens in a woman whose periods had already stopped because of certain forms of contraception including the Mirena coil.