Menopause is the transition that women make from there reproductive to their non-reproductive phases of their lives. The transition takes place usually in the woman's late 40s to early 50s and takes a few years sometimes to complete. The first signs that menopause may be happening is that the woman's period becomes more irregular. This is because there is a decrease in the hormones secreted by the ovaries which causes the menstrual cycle to be prolonged. During this time, women sometimes experience side effects of the decrease estrogen in their body. These effects include hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon, but sometimes this transition can be uncomfortable (especially the hot flashes). The use of hormone replacement therapy can be helpful in reducing these effects while the body transitions into the post-menopausal time period. However, hormone replacement therapy comes with certain risks, and you should not start this without understanding those risks.
I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. He or she can order some blood tests which can tell if you are heading towards menopause. In addition, your doctor
can perform a pelvic exam to look for any possible causes of the pain you had during your last period. Good luck.