What is Menopause?

Menopause, is the first anniversary since a woman last had a menstrual period (2;6). Menopause can be natural (4) or surgical (hysterectomy) (1). Onset of natural menopause varies widely (late thirties to late fifties), with the average onset between 48 and 55 (6). Menopause, is the culmination of a prolonged stage of hormone related changes heralding the end of a woman’s reproductive years (3). All women go through it (2). Some see it as a positive event, others as a negative one (2;3).

There are three stages to “the menopause”, the pre (before), the peri (during), and the post (after). Pre-menopausal: women still experience somewhat regular menstrual bleeding, and have had a period in the last three months (3). Peri-menopausal: women experience varied or less regular menstrual bleeding, or have had a period within the last 12 months, but not within the last 3 months (2;3). Post-menopausal: women who have not experienced menstrual bleeding for 12 or more months (3). Symptoms vary widely from woman to woman, some have none, others some, still others many (2). Peri-menopause usually lasts 4 years and vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, etc.) usually develop between 1 and 2 years before the last period (5). In dealing with symptoms, there are many options available, from lifestyle changes to supplements, to medication, be they traditional or naturopathic.
Some, but not all, women experience the following conditions during pre, peri and post menopause faze: psychological problems (anxiety, body image issues, and depression), weight gain, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats), urogenital (sexual and urinary tract) problems, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and dental problems.

1. Cappelletti, M., & Wallen, K. (2015). Increasing women’s sexual desire: The comparative effectiveness of estrogens and androgens. Hormones and Behavior. (2015), Doi: 10.1016/j-yhbeh.2015.11.003

2. Fagulha, T., Goncalves, B., & Ferreira, A. (2011). A population-based assesment of midlife portuguese women’s experience of primenopuase and menopause. Health Care for Women International, 32, 559-580.

3. Mishra, G., & Kuh, D. (2006). Percieved change in quality of life during the menopuause. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 93-102.

4. Morris, D.H., Jones, M.e., Schoemaker, M.J., McFadden, E., Ashworth, A., & Swerdlow, A.J. (2012). Body mass index, exercise, and other lifestyle factors in relation to age at natural menopause:Analyses from the breakthrough generations study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 157, (10), 998-1005.

5. WebMD website. Webpage:Thyroid may cause sexual problems. retrieved from: www.webmd.com/women/news/20020321/thyroid-may-cause-sexual-problems

6. Wylie-Rossett, J. (2005). Menopause, micronutrients, and hormone therapy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 8, (suppl), 1223s-1231s.


The information on this site is for educational and informational purposes only.  It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment.   Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help.  Sharon Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content.  Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).