Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What is menopause?

Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstruation stops permanently. It's a gradual process and could begin as early as the mid thirties.

Menopause can also occur when the ovaries are surgically removed. Most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. In the U.S., the average age for menstrual periods to stop completely is 51.

I refer to the symptoms of menopause as the "seven dwarfs" but I have since learned that the dwarfs have a lot of other relatives who pop in an out from time to time. In addition to hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches; there's also dizziness, fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, urinary incontinence and vaginal dryness.

Doctors say menopause usually begins at a time in life when other dramatic changes are taking place. Some of these changes may include loss of parents, adjustment to children growing up and leaving home (empty nest syndrome), becoming a grandparent, retirement or career changes. These changes, in addition to the changes in a woman's body, may result in psychological or emotional stress.

Next time I'll talk about how vaginal dryness can result in major problems when it comes to intimacy. Stay tuned...and don't forget to purchase a copy of my book Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age on November 16.

Come visit me sometime at and take the weekly Health Quiz and play the Baby Boomer Trvia Contest

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