Menopause should be considered to be a natural transition all women of a certain age experience rather than a disease or illness. During menopause, women stop having menstrual periods. This is because the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs. Though normally a gradual process, some women will experience this transition more suddenly.

Before menopause itself, women go through a period termed perimenopause. During this time, women first start experiencing changes in their hormones, body, and moods. It is a highly variable period lasting anywhere from months to years. This is also referred to as the “climacteric” period. During menopause, the ovaries experience a decline in functioning leading to decreased estrogen production. Similar to puberty, hormones levels are in a time of flux. The fluctuations cause symptoms even more severe than what occurs during adolescences. The severity also is dependent upon factors such as a woman’s feelings about aging.

Following perimenopause, a woman goes through menopause itself. Now, the ovaries have stopped functioning all together.The official medical definition of menopause is twelve months without a menstrual period. Like with perimenopauase, the actual length is quite variable. Once menopause is finished, women are considered to be in the post menopause phase of the reproductive cycle. Menopause typically begins at an average age of 51 years old, although some women do not enter menopause until age 60. Menopause and its symptoms vary on an individual basis. Some women report a few minor symptoms. Other women are plagued by a large number of severe symptoms. The best way to prepare for menopause is to educate yourself on the topic. Dealing with the transition also becomes easier if you follow a healthy diet and exercise plan and have a good social support system. Some women will require HRT, or hormone replacement therapy. Research all your options to decide if treatment is necessary for you.

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