Woman drinking coffeHow does natural menopause occur? 

Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by medical treatment, stress or other condition. It’s a normal part of aging. The process of menopause is gradual and divided into three stages:

  1. Perimenopause. Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can begin in the 30s. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1-2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women can experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can get pregnant.
  2. Menopause. Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.
  3. Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms begin to diminish.  But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.

What is premature menopause?

Some women can experience menopause early as a result of a surgical intervention (such as removal of the ovaries) or damage to the ovaries (from disease or chemotherapy). Menopause that occurs at age 40 or younger is considered premature menopause.

How will I know when I am postmenopausal?

You are not alone. A lot of women have a lot of questions about postmenopausal conditions and the changes they are experiencing in their bodies.

  • What are the causes?
  • What are the common symptoms?
  • What are my increased health risks?
  • Help…what are the best treatments for postmenopausal symptoms?
  • Do I still need to see my gynecologist after my periods have stopped?

This video helps to answer many of those questions. If you have additional questions or wish to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, call (641) 842-7211.