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What Is Menopause?

QUESTION: What is menopause?


What is menopause? Menopause means the cessation of menses, or menstrual period and is the name given to a normal life stage that every woman passes through as she reaches the end of her childbearing years. The average age for the onset of menopause is 52 years of age, but some women begin to experience symptoms in their late 40's, while others show no signs of menopause until their 60's. A majority of women enter a period of peri-menopause three to five years prior to actually reaching menopause, although some report the onset of symptoms associated with menopause ten to fifteen years prior.

What is menopause's impact on a woman? The average woman lives much longer today than she did fifty years ago. Her life expectancy keeps increasing with the numerous advances in modern medical science. So, menopause no longer needs to signify the end of vitality or be associated with advanced aging. Today's woman can reshape her thinking to look on menopause as a rite of passage. It is an opportunity to experience new freedom associated with the absence of menstruation. And for the married woman, even greater fulfillment in relationship with her husband.

What is menopause in terms of biological impact on the body? Menopause is characterized by physiological changes that are a part of hormonal adjustments. The female body no longer needs its vast supplies of estrogen and progesterone associated with pregnancy and bearing children. Symptoms of menopause vary, but may include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and of course, the end of the menstrual period. While these symptoms can be both a nuisance as well as uncomfortable, it is important to remember that menopause is a natural response to life change. The woman who views it as such will equip herself to transition through the change and go on to enjoy the new horizons ahead.

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