Understanding Menopause

Understanding Menopause

Understanding Menopause

Understanding Menopause


"A clear, balanced, and up-to-date guide to dealing with issues arising from the menopause - it couldn't have come at a better time."
- Dr Mark Porter , Practising GP, well known Writer and Broadcaster

As the variety of treatments to alleviate the physical and psychological symptoms of menopause continues to expand, doctors are encouraging women to take an active role in choosing treatment options for themselves.

Understanding Menopause will help you to make these decisions by providing clear, unbiased information about all aspects of menopause, as well as first-person accounts by women of their psychological and sociological menopausal experiences.

Written by an expert in women's health, this reader-friendly guide bridges the gap between medical knowledge and everyday life to help you cope with the menopause both physically and mentally.

  • Features women's accounts of what the menopause actually feels like
  • Includes the most up-to-date information on the results of the recent high-profile study into the risks of heart disease and stroke amongst women who have taken HRT
  • Written in an easy-to-understand style by an expert on women's health


The word 'menopause'originates from the Greek words menos (month) and pausos (ending), and simply means the cessation of monthly menstruation, although the term menopause was not used by doctors until 1821. Today, on average, the menopause occurs naturally at the age of 51 years, although many women cease to menstruate a few years before or after this age. Eighty per cent of women will have reached the menopause by the age of 54 years.

There are two other terms, the 'climacteric'and the 'change of life', which are also frequently used to describe changes associated with the menopause. Climacteric is also from the Greek language and represents the steps of a ladder, which, it has been suggested, reflects the passage to a different stage in a woman's life. The climacteric refers to the period of time during which changes to the ovary occur. These changes result in a diminishing reproductive function, which is finally lost around the time of the menopause. Changes in the ovary start around 10–15 years before the menopause and continue for around five years after the cessation of menstruation.

In addition to these biological changes, there are a number of social and emotional changes that may also arise at the time of the menopause. Changes in employment, becoming a carer for elderly relatives, changes in relationships with children, and also in body image, may all contribute to an altered outlook on life. The term, 'change of life'represents all of these biological, emotional and social changes. In this way the menopause occurs as part of the wider experience of the change of life. Within this book, the biological, emotional and social changes will be discussed.

The menopause is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, doctors in the ancient world, such as Hippocrates (circa 460–3 77 BC)described the cessation of menstruation as something that happened to all women around the age of 40 years. There has . . .

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