The menopausal transition or climacteric is the transition phase from a woman’s reproductive years to her non-reproductive years, i.e. when she is no longer able to become pregnant. This is the result of declining function of her ovaries and drop in her body’s oestrogen and progesterone levels.

'Menopause' is technically the very last period. This is a natural event caused by a marked reduction in production of the major female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone in the ovaries. The age when most women reach their final menstrual period is in their early 50s. However, this is just an average and there is a great deal of variation.

After menopause, women frequently suffer from significant complaints, such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disorders, mood swings, and dryness of the vagina or other mucous membranes. These complaints result from an increasing deficiency of the natural hormones, especially oestrogens. Over time, this hormonal deficiency can also lead to an increased risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. In order to eliminate menopausal complaints and prevent osteoporosis women are often treated with hormone replacement therapy on a low-dose basis (as recommended by experts).

APROM ID# 3079. May 2011.