What is menopause?

The term “menopause” means cessation of menstruation during the time of the climacteric. The climacteric is the transition period in a woman’s life when the ovaries stop producing eggs regularly.

Menopause is the beginning of a distinct life phase with its own particular health issues.

The term “menopause” means cessation of menstruation during the time of the climacteric. The climacteric is the transition period in a woman’s life when the ovaries stop producing eggs regularly. Production of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone declines, and menstruation decreases and eventually stops. Menopause is also sometimes called “change of life”.

The exact event of menopause (the permanent cessation of menstruation) can only be determined retrospectively after no menstrual periods have occurred for 12 consecutive months. The range for the age of natural menopause is approximately between 48 to 55 years old.

(Previously reviewed by Dr Mike Davey, President of the South African Menopause Society, Dr Tobie de Villiers, gynaecologist and committee member of both the South African Menopause and International Menopause Societies and Prof B. Schaetzing MD, FCOG(SA), FRCOG, PhD. Part-time Consultant, Dept of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch)

(Reviewed and updated by Dr Alan Alperstein, obstetrician and gynaecologists in Cape Town, February 2011)

Reference: Dennis Thompson Jr. | Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

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