Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her period stops. Technically, a woman reaches this point when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row and there are no other causes for it. Many women have symptoms, such as hot flashes, as they approach this change. The average age of menopausal women is 51.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a normal change in a woman's life when her period stops. That's why some people call it "the change of life." During menopause, a woman's body slowly makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This often happens between the ages of 45 and 55. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row and there are no other causes for this change.

What Are the Symptoms?

As you near menopause, you may have symptoms as a result of the changes your body is making. Many women wonder if these changes are normal, and many are confused about how to treat their symptoms. You can feel better by learning as much as possible about menopause and talking with your doctor about your health and symptoms. If you want to treat your symptoms, your doctor can tell you more about your options and help you make the best treatment choices.
(Click Menopause Symptoms for more information on this topic.)

Early Symptoms of Menopause (Perimenopause)

Menopause is a normal part of life, just like puberty. It is the time of your last period, but symptoms can begin several years before your last period and last for months, or even years, thereafter. Sometime around age 40, you might notice that your period is different -- how long it lasts, how much you bleed, or how often it happens may not be the same. Or, without warning, you might find yourself feeling very warm during the day or in the middle of the night. Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are two female hormones made in your ovaries, might lead to these symptoms.
Many women and their doctors call this time of change "perimenopause." Perimenopause often begins several years before your last menstrual period. It lasts for one year after your last period. A full year without a period is needed before you can say you have been "through menopause." Postmenopause follows menopause and lasts the rest of your life.
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Menopause Information

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