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What is Menopause?

By HERWriter
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It is something commonly referred to as “the change” and can be a frightening concept for some women, usually because menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman in duration and in intensity. It is a common myth that all women suffer, but it is impossible to predict the onset and severity of symptoms. For many women, I think it’s safe to say, menopause remains a mystery in many respects. So let’s take a closer look.

What causes Menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s aging process. It can happen anytime between age 42 and 56. The term menopause is used to refer to the entire transition from what some call “perimenopause”, when a woman first begins to experience menopausal symptoms, to up to a few years following the actual cessation of the menstrual period. A woman is considered to have entered menopause when she has gone without a menstrual period for 12 months.

A woman is born with a finite number of eggs and towards the late thirties the ovaries make less estrogen and progesterone, which regulate menstruation. “[F]ewer potential eggs are ripening in your ovaries each month, and ovulation is less predictable ... the post-ovulation surge in progesterone – the hormone that prepares your body for pregnancy – becomes less dramatic. Your fertility declines ...” (Mayoclinic.com).

Menopause can also happen because of a full hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and primary ovarian insufficiency, which results in menopause before the age of 40 in about 1 percent of women.

In natural menopause, “[p]erimenopause typically begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen ... [and] lasts up until ... the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Menopause [as we’ve already seen] is the point when it’s been a year since a woman has had her last menstrual period ... Postmenopause ... are the years after menopause ... menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, ease for most women.” (WebMD)

Symptoms of Menopause

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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