Menopause

Menopause is the cessation of menstruation (monthly periods) that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive cycle.  Menopause is a natural result of the aging process in women when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and is entirely normal.  There are times when a woman may experience premature menopause as a result of the surgical removal of her ovaries with or without hysterectomy.  The natural process of menopause allows for a slowing down of the menstrual cycle over time and enables the body to adapt to the cessation of having a period over time and a slowing down of estrogen in the body, as opposed to surgical menopause which creates an abrupt change in the estrogen provided by the ovaries.

The onset of menopause may occur as early as age 35 and as late as 60 years, but most commonly occurs between the ages of 40 and 58. with the average age being 51 years old.  If a woman recognizes signs of menopause before the age of 50, this is called premenapause and can occur naturally, but also can occur due to other serious conditions and medical advice should be sought to determine the cause.  In the natural aging process the woman may gradually experience some irregularity in her menstrual cycles with the time between cycles gradually lengthening with a decreasing amount of bleeding each time.  The entire process from the earliest signs of menstrual irregularity and the cessation of periods is usually less than 2 years.  A woman is said to be menopausal when she has not had a natural occurring menstrual period for at least one year.  A woman can experience surgical menopause brought on by a hysterectomy which includes the removal of the ovaries, or by surgical removal of just the ovaries, both which rapidly produce the signs and symptoms of menopause.

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