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What is Menopause?

Tina Turner turned 60 this year, throwing the phrase "Finished At Fifty" out the window.  This is not your mothers' menopause. . .But what is menopause?  It's is the end of menstruation, which is often a cause for celebration!  But what causes periods to stop is the same thing that causes menopausal symptoms to begin:  our ovaries stop producing estrogen, causing hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido.  More importantly, it increases a woman's risk for several diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.

The average age of menopause in America is 51, but women can start having symptoms in their 30's or 40's.  If you have these symptoms, don't dismiss them as just stress or fatigue; see your doctor.

Finally, you don't go into menopause overnight, so don't prepare for it overnight. Your friends and family are good sources of information and support, but your doctor is the best source of medical information about menopause for you.  Ask questions now to help you form a good treatment plan later.  For many women, that plan will include hormone replacement therapy or HRT.  We'll discuss that tomorrow on Dr. Donnica's Women's Health Report.

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Created: 1/25/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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