Menopause, a normal developmental transition, marks the end of a woman's reproductive capacity. It is defined as the absence of the menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, and it typically takes place in a woman's early 50s. Women who are using hormone therapy for symptoms may have difficulty determining when they actually reach menopause because the hormones obscure the physiological transition. Although the words menopause and menopausal are frequently used to describe the remainder of a woman's life after the end of regular menstruation, the appropriate medical term for that time of life is postmenopausal.

Perimenopause refers to menstrual cycle-related and other physical signs and symptoms that occur in the five to 10 years around (i.e., prior to and just after) menopause as ...

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