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Health Condition

Menopause

About This Condition

Menopause is the cessation of the monthly female menstrual cycle. Women who have not had a menstrual period for a year are considered postmenopausal.

Most commonly, menopause takes place when a woman is in her late forties or early fifties. Women who have gone through menopause are no longer fertile. Menopause is not a disease and cannot be prevented. Many hormonal changes occur during menopause. Postmenopausal women are at higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, presumably because of a decrease in the production of estrogen or other hormones.

Symptoms

Several unpleasant symptoms may accompany menopause. Some, such as vaginal dryness, result from the lack of estrogen. Others, such as hot flashes and decreased sex drive, are caused by more complex hormonal changes. Some women experience depression, anxiety, or insomnia during menopause.

References

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65. Tice JA, Ettinger B, Ensrud K, et al. Phytoestrogen supplements for the treatment of hot flashes: the Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2003;290:207-14.

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83. CJ Smith. Non-hormonal control of vaso-motor flushing in menopausal patients. Chicago Med 1964;67:193-5.

84. Crawford AM. The Herbal Menopause Book. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1996.

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86. Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, et al. Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril 1997;68:981-6.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.