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Menopause

Menopause refers to the end of a woman’s reproductive capacity. It is a normal developmental transition during midlife that occurs as a result of age-related changes that lead to a decline in the production of the ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This decline normally starts in a woman’s early 40s and occurs gradually over the course of 8–10 years; however, it can occur suddenly as a result of medical treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, hysterectomy). Menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, a developmental milestone that most North American women experience, on average, at around age 51. This entry defines terms related to menopause, discusses women’s typical experience of its symptoms, and ways to cope with them. It then addresses the issue of ...

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