Colorado Menopause: Overview
Menopause is part of the normal life cycle of women. When a woman has passed through menopause, her monthly periods end, and she no longer can get pregnant naturally. Many women welcome the new kind of life that menopause brings, with freedom from pregnancy and child-raising responsibilities. The average age for menopause is about 51 years old in the United States.
The changes of menopause begin when your ovaries, the organs that form eggs, no longer produce eggs, and their production of female hormones decreases. Hormones are chemicals that are formed in glands and move through the blood to cause effects on other body organs.
Two hormones made in the ovaries, estrogen and progesterone, help to keep a woman's monthly period going in a regular cycle. When you approach mid-life, estrogen begins to drop to low levels. The reproductive organs gradually shut down, just as they gradually became active during puberty. Eventually your periods will end.
The menopausal transition may take from one to 10 years, and during that time hormone levels can be higher and lower than normal. Some months you may have a period and in others you may not. During this time, you may still be able to get pregnant.
Menopause usually happens naturally as women age. Menopause also can occur for other reasons, however, including removal of both ovaries, radiation or chemotherapy, gland disorders, or very poor health.
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