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Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menses (aka your “period”) for 12 consecutive months. The median age in which this occurs in women is 51, but leading up to this point both ovarian function and hormone production decline and can do so for up to 8 years! This time, marked by irregular periods and a whole host of symptoms related to the lack of estrogen is called perimenopause (meaning around menopause).