Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she ceases to menstruate. It is a natural process that results when the ovaries stop producing estrogen, ending the monthly release of an egg. According to the American Medical Association, the production of estrogen usually stops between ages 40 and 54 In normal menopause, the menstrual periods may be minimal and infrequent before ceasing altogether. Approximately 25 percent of women experience no side effects from menopause, 50 percent experience slight physical or mental changes, and the remaining 25 percent experience inconvenient or distressing symptoms. The symptoms may include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, palpitations, joint pain, and headaches. Your doctor may decide to prescribe hormone replacement therapy or other medications to help ease these symptoms.

Due to the loss of estrogen which helps keep calcium in the bones, post-menopausal women are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis. It is suggested women eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium to help guard against osteoporosis. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

Although menopause signals the end of the childbearing years, a reliable form of birth control should be used for 24 months after your last period if you are under 50 years of age and for 12 months after your last period if you are over age 50.

For more menopause information, visit The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.