Menopause is the phase in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle ends permanently due to low levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones produced by the ovaries. Women are born with finite numbers of eggs, stored in the ovaries; ovulation and consequently menses, are controlled by these ovarian hormones. Hence, menopause can be described as the termination of the ovaries’ primary functions. Although this process may signify the end of a woman’s fertile cycle, many post-menopausal women enjoy healthy, active sex lives.
Diagnosis of menopause is outlined as the cessation of the menstrual cycle for a span twelve months. Menopause can also be an induced process, due to factors such as surgery or medication, or can occur prematurely.
The process of menopause is unique for each woman. Some women are more sensitive to these hormonal changes while other women do not report any significant changes. Symptoms include:
Premature Menopause – Menopause that occurs before the age of 40 is considered premature or early menopause. Premature menopause can occur on its own or be caused by medical or surgical procedures.
Medically Induced Causes
Menopause – When a woman no longer has her regular period, she is considered menopausal, which means the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and estrogen levels have significantly diminished.
Perimenopause or menopausal transition – Peri, which refers to the several years before menopause actually occurs, is associated with irregular periods, migraines, loss of bone density, breast tenderness, urinary incontinence, low libido, sleep issues, hot flashes, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and weight gain.