Menopause is a natural process at the end of a woman's reproductive age. Unfortunately, it involves shutting down not only ovulatory functions of the ovaries, but their other functions as well. This means that the ovaries no longer produce estrogen and progesterone, which leads to various symptoms associated with the menopausal process.
The average woman goes through menopause at the age of 51, but it can normally happen anywhere between the age of 46 and 56. The process can range from gradual to sudden - it can take years, or happen overnight. It can occasionally occur at a much younger age - even in a woman's 20s.
Menopause can be triggered artificially with surgery - a hysterectomy with preserved ovaries leads to menopause possibly occurring a few years earlier, while the ovaries are still active. The removal of the ovaries themselves results in immediate menopause. Women exposed to greater stress and burnout between the ages of 35 and 45 also deplete the adrenal stores of sex hormones. As a result, menopause may be a more unpleasant experience.