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What is menopause?

Menopause refers to the point of time when the menstrual periods of a woman cease. Menopause usually occurs in 40s-50s.  Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of the fertile child-bearing period in a woman. In some women, menopause can happen in their early 40s and some in late 50s. The average age of menopause in Indian women has been to reported to be 46.


Menopause occurs when the progesterone and oestrogen production by the ovaries stops. Once a woman has undergone menopause, she can’t bear children.

Menopause transition (perimenopause) refers to the years before the menopause, marked by a gradual decrease in oestrogen release by the ovaries. A lady is considered to have menopause when she does not have menstrual periods for a year. The caseation of periods due to other reasons like pregnancy or sickness is not menopause.

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  1. Early age of natural menopause in India, a biological marker for early preventive health programs. Climacteric. 2012 Dec;15(6):581-6.
  2. Menopausal symptoms and the risk of young-onset breast cancer. Eur J Cancer. 2013 Mar; 49(4): 798–804.
  3. Menopause and Menopause Treatments. Frequently asked questions. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health http://www.womenshealth.gov

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