Merck Manual

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Stages of Menopause

Stages of Menopause


Early Menopausal Transition

Late Menopausal Transition

Early Postmenopause

Late Postmenopause



1–3 years

2 years

3–6 years

Until death

Menstrual cycle

Variable length (a persistent difference of ≥ 7 days in the length of consecutive cycles)

Interval of amenorrhea that lasts ≥ 60 days

FSH level on cycle days 2–5

High but variable

High (> 25 IU/L)

High but variable

Stabilizes at a high level*


Vasomotor symptoms likely to occur

Vasomotor symptoms most likely to occur

Symptoms of genitourinary syndrome of menopause

* FSH levels increase until about 2 years after the last menstrual period, then stabilize.

FSH = follicle-stimulating hormone.

Adapted from Harlow SD, Gass M, Hall JE, et al: For the STRAW 10 Collaborative Group: Executive summary of the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop + 10: Addressing the unfinished agenda of staging reproductive aging. Menopause 19 (4):387–395, 2012.