Menopause, which is a natural biological process, is defined as the state of an absence of menstrual periods for 12 months after the last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. It starts with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period and is characterized by the cessation of the function of the ovaries. Although it also ends fertility, women can stay healthy, vital and sexual. Some even feel relieved because they no longer need to worry about pregnancy.



The menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. In the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), a woman might experience the following symptoms:

  • Irregular periods (even so, pregnancy is still possible)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism
  • Thinning hair and dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness

Other menopausal symptoms include:

  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Loss of libido (sex drive)
  • Vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex
  • Palpitations (heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable)
  • Headaches
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)



Menopause can result from:

  • Natural decline of reproductive hormones;
  • Hysterectomy;
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy;
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency.



After menopause, the risk of certain medical conditions increases. Examples include:

  • Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Urinary incontinence;
  • Sexual function;
  • Weight gain.