Menopause occurs around 50 years of age in most women. The menopause age may be affected by various factors such as genetics, or extreme weight changes or through drugs such as chemotherapy agents or, through surgical resection.
Some women go through a period of perimenopause, that can last several years.
During this period, their menstrual periods may become highly erratic and light. Many women do not feel any significant ill effects after menopause, although some women may experience hot flushes, heat intolerance, mood swings, or easy weight gain.
Menopause is usually managed through lifestyle measures such as exercise and careful dieting and meditation, if so inclined.
Medications are often not necessary, but may include low dose anti-depressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), oestrogen replacement with progesterone, if the uterus (womb) is present. Plant derived oestrogens (phyto-oestrogens) may be useful in some women. Women with a history of breast tumours or a strong family history of one may not be suitable for oestrogen or progesterone replacement.
Women who receive hormone replacement therapy should also consider having 1-2 yearly mammograms to monitor for any breast tumour that arise from replacement therapy.