Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Renee Sorrentino
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_501

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...

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Suggested Readings

  1. 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
  2. Green, R., & Santoro, N. (2009). Menopausal symptoms and ethnicity: The study of women’s health across the nation. Women’s Health, 5(2), 127–133.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Lerner-Geva, L., Boyko, V., Blumstein, T., & Benyamini, Y. (2010). The impact of education, cultural background, and lifestyle on symptoms of the menopausal transition: The women’s health at midlife study. Journal of Women’s Health, 19(5), 975–985.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus. www.nim.nih.gov/medlineplus/menopause.html
  2. North American Menopause Society. www.menopuase.org

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renee Sorrentino
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts General HospitalQuincyUSA