Menopause marks the cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycles and entails a natural decline in reproductive hormones. It is officially defined as occurring when 12 successive months have passed since the last menstrual period. Menopause occurs in all women and usually takes place in one’s mid-40s or 50s; in the United States, the average age at which menopause occurs is 51. This entry reviews the physical symptoms and psychological impact of menopause and discusses its causes, postmenopause, and management of symptoms.


Although it is a natural life change and not a disease, menopause can cause various symptoms, many of which can be unpleasant and disruptive. Some symptoms of menopause include hot flashes and night sweats (both of which are classified as vasomotor symptoms), sleep disruption, and ...

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