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Menopause is defined by doctors as the absence of menstrual periods for a period of one year. Although the average age for menopause is 51, it can happen any time between the 30s and 50s. It is uncommon for menopause to occur before the age of 40, but many of the symptoms of menopause can begin several years before menopause occurs. This time of transition is referred to as the perimenopause. Many women begin to experience some symptoms of menopause when they enter their 40s.
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