Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her periods stop. It usually occurs between ages 45 and 55, with the average age in the United States being 51. A woman is defined as being in menopause when she has not had periods for 12 consecutive months.
Irregular periods are common in the years leading up to menopause. We call this time perimenopause. As ovulation becomes less regular, progesterone production declines, and as a result, periods may become closer or farther apart, lighter or heavier, shorter or longer. It is hard to predict how long it will be until periods stop altogether.
Other symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and emotional irritability may also occur. Later in menopause, a woman may notice vaginal dryness or painful intercourse.
In the past, women were often put on hormones (estrogens and/or progestins) for treatment of menopausal symptoms. Because of concerns about the risks of hormone therapy, today we tend to treat symptoms more specifically, and for shorter periods of time. Herbal preparations and non-hormone therapies may be helpful to treat symptoms.
We want to work with you to find the best therapy for your menopausal symptoms.
For more information on menopause, we encourage you to investigate the following websites: