Wondering when you should expect menopause to start? Menopause is the permanent end of your periods and fertility; it’s defined as the 12 months after your last period. The average age is 51. Some common signs and symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, increased abdominal fat and loss of fullness in the breasts. 51 is just an average; some women notice these changes later. Some women may notice severe hot flashes and mood swings but for others they may be much more mild. It’s a good idea to see your doctor during the years leading up to menopause so that you can start to get into a preventative health plan to fight some of the medical conditions that may occur with aging.