Menopause is a phase in every woman’s life probably in her late 40’s or early 50’s wherein there is absence of menstrual periods for a duration of 12 months. It is not to be confused to any disease. It is a phase during which the ovaries cease to function.
It is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight. The average menopause age of a woman is 51. There is no test to predict the exact menopause age of a woman. Menopausal experience can be different for different woman accompanied by various symptoms.
Menopause occurs due to natural decline of reproductive hormones. It is also associated with the decline in the number of functioning eggs which are stored in the ovaries. A woman is born with finite number of eggs in the ovaries. By the time a girl gets her first periods, half of the eggs are lost . During the menopausal phase, a woman has only fewer eggs. Some of these eggs are lost due to normal ovulation and atresia.
The ovaries also produce the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone which maintain menstruation and ovulation. During the menopause the ovaries no longer produce egg every month and the periods stop. Also the ovaries reduce the production of estrogen.
The decreased levels of estrogen effects various parts of our body such as the heart, skin, brain, urinary system, uterus, breasts and blood vessels. Most of the symptoms associated with menopause is due to the loss of estrogen.
Duration of Menopause
Menopausal phase lasts for 12 consecutive months. The time around the menopause i.e. several years before the last period is generally referred to as perimenopause. At this stage women experience early menopausal symptoms. This stage lasts till the last period or the onset of menopause.
Several years after the menopausal phase is known as the postmenopause. Some of the symptoms of menopause begin to ease for some women. But women are susceptible to health risks due to the loss of estrogen such as osteoporosis and heart diseases.