ANSWER: The technical dictionary definition of menopause is that it begins after a woman ceases to have normal menstrual cycles for at least twelve months. At this point in her life, she is no longer fertile and is unable to bear children (short of a miracle from God). In the United States, the average age a woman arrives at her 'change of life' is 51.
The circumstance of being barren is related to menopause in that it signifies a woman is not able to conceive and bear children. Being barren is a condition where a woman is sterile and unable to have children during a female's normal fertile years. In the case of Sarah, Abraham's wife, she was barren before her 'change of life' occurred.
The first place scripturally menopause is mentioned is when it euphemistically calls it the 'manner of women.'
11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in days, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (Genesis 18:11, HBFV)
The Being of the Godhead who became Jesus personally visited Abraham and Sarah to let them know that they WOULD have a child. When Sarah heard this announcement, she laughed to herself and said the following.
After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (verse 12)
The idea of enjoying intercourse with a person's husband is hard to believe when one is past childbearing years. Sarah had tried for a very long time to have a son by Abraham but could not for one reason or another. She gave up and asked her husband to take her servant Hagar as his concubine. A concubine is a second wife but not the legal one. They then produced Ishmael who was thirteen when Isaac was born.
Another woman who experienced menopause but later miraculously had a child was Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron and her husband was of the tribe of Levi who served at the temple of God in Jerusalem.
Of the seven barren women mentioned in the Bible (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson's mother, Hannah, Michal, Elizabeth), four of them were healed and able to bear children before menopause. Two of them (Sarah and Elizabeth) were healed after they reached their "change of life" and bore a child, and one (Michal) was childless all her life. Thank you for your question.
Written by Charlotte Grantham
A BibleStudy.org Email Evangelist