Menopause is something that women often discuss with fear and uncertainty. Though menopausal changes in your body are not “one size fits all,” below you’ll find some basic information regarding menopause. If you have additional questions or if your experience seems different from this general information, please talk with your doctor.
“The change”, as it is commonly called, is actually a 15 to 20 year process called the climacteric, often occurring in women from approximately age 45 to 60. During this time, a woman’s body is making the transition from being able to reproduce to no longer being able to reproduce.
The actual event called menopause occurs during a two-year time frame. Most women often begin menopause around age 50, but menopause is normal any time between ages 40 and 60. Menopause is marked by the cessation of menstruation. There are also many hormonal fluctuations that take place during the climacteric and menopause, and your individual body’s response to these shifts will determine your symptoms.
Some physical symptoms of menopause may include hot flashes, headaches and dizziness. In some cases, the decline in estrogen production can result in osteoporosis (brittle bones). Statistics show that about one-fourth of women never experience a hot flash during their menopausal change. Moreover, of the 50-75% of women who have experienced a hot flash, the majority report that they were not bothered by them.
Traditionally, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was prescribed to help women cope with the symptoms of menopause. However, women’s views on HRT have changed in recent years. Now many women are hesitant to undergo this treatment because of its potential effects on heart function and the increased possibility of breast cancer.
We continue to offer HRT for those who choose this option, and we will be glad to discuss the benefits and precautions associated with each type of treatment with you.