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What Is Menopause?

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

What Is Menopause?What is menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of aging which occurs when a woman’s menstrual period ceases and the ovaries stop producing hormones. In the United States, women generally experience natural menopause around the age of 50.

A woman is typically considered to be in natural menopause when she has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. It can take many years for a woman’s body to reach this time, and the years leading up to menopause are referred to as perimenopause. During this transitional period, the ovaries stop ovulating regularly and hormones levels can become erratic. As a result, women can begin to experience a myriad of symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, urinary issues, and more. For those who have a uterus, periods may occur more or less frequently as well.

Once natural menopause is reached, some symptoms may be alleviated while others can persist. Not all women are affected the same by menopause, so it is important for each woman to track her own symptoms and discuss them with her doctor.

For women who have had a bilateral oophorectomy, surgical menopause can occur instantaneously and at a much younger age than natural menopause. In some cases, this can make menopause symptoms more severe as hormone needs can be higher for younger women and/or the body has not been able to slowly adjust to the hormonal changes. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one way women can try to manage the health risks and troublesome symptoms which go along with surgical menopause.

While many of the symptoms associated with menopause are frustrating and bothersome, some symptoms can indicate underlying health concerns that can develop from low or no estrogen. These health concerns can include cholesterol issues, heart concerns, osteoporosis, thinning tissues, and more. During menopause, it is important to continue with yearly well-woman exams so you and your doctor can monitor any health issues which may occur as a result of aging or menopause. The sooner these conditions are caught and treated, the better prognosis can be. Your doctor can also help you manage the irksome menopause symptoms so you can enjoy a better quality of life during these golden years.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-26-2014 - 05:12 PM


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