Menopause is defined as the cessation of ovarian function or of menstrual cycles. The diagnosis of menopause is made when a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months. The diagnosis can also be made by laboratory studies, which indicate a pattern of persistent elevation in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Menopause occurs because the ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is a normal process of aging with a median age of 51 years. The normal aging process involves the progressive decline in the number of oocytes, or eggs by atresia (degeneration of eggs) or ovulation. This is a gradual process, which occurs over an average of 4 years. The years prior to menopause are referred to as the menopause transition. During this time, fluctuations in FSH and LH cause irregular menses and a series of symptom complexes.
Common symptoms associated with the menopause transition are hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal...
- AACE Menopause Guidelines Revision Task Force. (2006). American association of clinical endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the diagnosis and treatment of menopause. Endocrine Practice, 12(3), 315–337.Google Scholar