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You are here : home > Women's Health > Basics about Menopause > What is Menopause

What is Menopause

What is Menopause

Menopause is the cessation of periods.It is generally between the age of 45- 50 years. It is a normal aging process. It is due to low production of  hormone, estrogen. Menopause occurs after 1 year of amenorrhoea. Get more information on menopause, read on.

What is menopause

Menopause is derived from the Greek word menos (month) and pause (to stop) refers to the last menstrual period and is generally considered to have occurred after 1 year of amenorrhoea. At the age of 45- 50 years:

  • The sexual cycles in a female usually become irregular;
  • Ovulation fails to occur during many of the cycles. 
After a few months to a few years, the cycles cease and the female sex hormones diminish rapidly to almost none at all. Sometimes the phrase 'the change of life' is used and often doctors use the term 'climacteric'.

Whom does menopause affect

Menopause, occurring on an average at the age of 45, is a normal event but it leads to much pathology in excess of that of the normal aging process. The average age of menopause has not changed for centuries. The age of menopause seems unrelated to socioeconomic factors, race, weight or height although severe malnutrition or cigarette smoking may result in an earlier onset. 

The real importance of menopause today lies in the increasing longevity of the 20th century woman. With the increased longevity, women will now spend a third of their lives in the postmenopausal state (characterized by estrogen deficiency) attendant to many long-term symptomatic and metabolic complications. 

Why does menopause occur

The cause of menopause is 'burning out' of the ovaries. The aging of the ovary begins even before birth when a progressive decline in the number of primordial follicles compresses. The percentage of growing follicles increases substantially at puberty and is maintained throughout reproductive life and declines in the climacteric period (period of time around menopause).

  • Natural menopause: Estrogens are produced in sub critical quantities for a short time after menopause, but over a few years falls almost to zero. 
  • "Artificial" menopause: Besides natural menopause, loss of ovarian function can also occur in patients receiving pelvic radiation or chemotherapy or those having ovarian failure or bilateral surgical removal of ovaries. 

What are the different phases of menopause

Menopause can be divided into three phases:

  • Pre-menopause: There is a little disruption of the ovarian function and the menstrual cycle remains regular. Some symptoms may begin to occur in this phase.
  • Peri-menopause: This phase represents declining ovarian function with menstrual irregularities and symptoms commonly start or become troublesome during this time.
  • Post-menopause: Once there have been no menses for 12 months the post-menopause phase is entered.

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What is Menopause
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nishu.2 years ago
Menopause can be defined as the cessation of menses for 12 consecutive months due to a natural decline in the reproductive hormones between ages 40’s to 50’s. Women experience variety of symptoms due to this decline in hormones and these symptoms are collectively called perimenopausal symptoms. Perimenopause is the time period few years before and after menopause. The average age for menopause is 51, but it can occur between 48-55 years of age. A small percentage of women may have it at an earlier age. If it happens before 40 years of age then it is called premature menopause.
Rohini.10 years ago
my menopause started at the age of 45. i suffer from severe back ache and also go through a phase of depression.
neelam chawla
neelam chawla.10 years ago
my menopause started at rhe age of effected me phisically as well as it had been ten yrs since i am takinging those harmones.but is still get my periods at right time at right time at the age of 55.
Pru.10 years ago
since discontinuing hrt after 8 years my hot flushes came back with a vengeance. to my horror, at the same time i started to experience continual muscle stiffness/soreness as if i had run a marathon the day before. i have decided to put up with the flushes and not whinge about them, but am alarmed by the muscle problem. does anyone else have this, and is it permanent or just a stage to endure? what causes this? i hate to think that i am just a weak old crock.
donna.10 years ago
my friend is going through some rough times right now she is locking herself in the bedroom , diarrea , mood swings what kind of advise i can tell her. her periods are bad. she is 46 years old.
Grace.10 years ago
i am 65 yrs old. i stopped taking hormones after being on them for 15 years. i am suffering miderably from host flashes and muscle aches and pains. i have been off hormones for 7 months.
WORRIED.10 years ago
my menopause started at the age of 44 by surgicaly. i suffer from serve back ache and also to through aphase of hotflesh. please advise me what should i do
lee.10 years ago
i started menopause 2 yrs ago. i have recently had a iud fitted, which has helped my periods and incredible feeling of being out of control. maybe this would help? i have no periods now, and am beginning to feel well again, much to my familys relief.
Tricia.10 years ago
i've been going through the menopause for the last few years and made the decision not to take hrt. i've tried several herbal remedies and found some to be very helpful. i'm taking meno-herbs 2 from victoria health. no more hot flashes, mood swings, headaches etc. i'd recommend it.
Linda.10 years ago
i'm 51 and haven't had a period in 14 months. i have very few hot flashes but i pain in most of the muscles in my joints. do i need estrogen?
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