Menopause is the transition period in a woman's life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, her body produces less estrogen and progesterone and menstruation becomes less frequent, eventually stopping altogether. Menopause is a natural event that normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
The symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The ovaries make less of these hormones over time. The specific symptoms and how significant (mild, moderate, or severe) they are varies from woman to woman. A gradual decrease of estrogen generally allows your body to slowly adjust to the hormonal changes. Hot flashes and sweats are at their worst for the first one to two years. Menopause may last five or more years.
The drop in hormone levels can lead to disruptive physical changes. You should talk to your doctor if you have the following:
- Heavy periods
- Long or irregular periods
- Severe hot flashes or night sweats