Menstruation, which starts between age 11 and 15, is characterized by the release of blood and tissues from the lining of the uterus. Females have a monthly period until menopause, which occurs between age 45 and 55. When you enter menopause your body stops ovulating--which means no more periods. If you’ve gone six or more months without a period and with little or no spotting, and if you’ve already had or are having the following symptoms, it’s likely that your menstrual cycle is a thing of the past.
What to Watch For
Be aware of your physiology. It might be normal to break into a mild sweat when you step from your air-conditioned house into a scorching hot outdoors, or when you do rigorous physical activity. But if you suddenly find yourself sweating for no reason, at random or inappropriate times, this is a sign that menopause, and the end of your menstrual cycle, is on the way. This symptom is called hot flashes. Night sweats is another sign of menopause or perimenopause, the transitional years preceding menopause.
Monitor your diet. Are you craving more food now? Are you gaining pounds yet your activity level is the same? These are signs that your body is entering the next phase of life, sans menstrual cycles.
Acknowledge relevant discomfort. Urinary-tract infections, incontinence, and an unusual bump or pressure in the vagina area are all signs that menopause has arrived.
Watch your moods. One minute you’re content and giggly, the next you’re flying off the handle because you forgot to put your garbage out for trash day. Mood swings are notoriously indicative of "the change of life."