Menopause is a normal transition in a woman’s life. Defined as the point when menstruation stops permanently, menopause occurs on average at age 51. Today,  most women in America will spend at least one-third of our lives in or beyond menopause.

Menopause is the last stage of a gradual biological process in which the ovaries reduce their production of female sex hormones. Estrogen production in the body diminishes slowly over a period of years, commonly resulting in hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and memory loss. This gradual phase before the permanent cessation of menstrual periods is sometimes called perimenopause. The process of menopause is considered complete when a woman has not menstruated for an entire year. Another type of menopause, known as surgical menopause, occurs if both ovaries are removed for medical reasons.

Experience of menopause

Each woman experiences her own constellation of issues as she goes through menopause. Some studies even suggest that the signs and symptoms of menopause may vary between cultural groups. For example, up to 80% of American women experience hot flashes during menopause while only 10% of Japanese women experience that symptom. Some researchers speculate that these differences may be due to differences in diet, lifestyle, and/or cultural attitudes toward aging.

In general, however, the loss of estrogen that occurs during menopause causes the following symptoms:

Over time, lower estrogen levels can contribute to the development of more serious medical conditions, including the following:

Preventive Care

The following preventive measures may help diminish symptoms and reduce the risk of serious complications (such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease) associated with menopause:

Treatment Approach   In nature, several estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA occur together.  Different women feel better on different combinations of  these hormones..  Often to get back to feeling the way she once did, a woman will need adjustments in the doses of several hormones.  Hormone replacement does not work well with a one size fits all model.

The goals in treating menopause are two: to  improve quality of life and to reduce the risk for long-term medical conditions. There are many treatment options available to menopausal women. To help determine the most appropriate treatment for you, it is best to have a thourough discussion with your health care provider.

Estrogen Replacement
Progesterone Replacement
Natural Supplements for Treating Menopause  this test asks you questions about your symptoms and from your answers suggests what hormones may be imbalanced.  This tool is not tested, but it may can help determine how to proceed if you decide with your doctor on hormone replacement therapy.
Power Point Presentation on Estrogen and Heart Disease Controversy