“Menopause is the final menstrual period. Sometimes you only know you have had your final menstrual period if you have had no period for 12 months, as periods can…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Menopause Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Early Menopause
  • Going Through the Menopause
  • Induced Menopause
  • Menopausal/Menopause Transition
  • Menopause
  • Natural Menopause
  • Perimenopause
  • Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause
  • Postmenopause
  • Premature Menopause
  • Second Half of Your Life
  • Surgical Menopause
  • The Change
  • The Change of Life
  • The Menopause Years
  • The Menopause-Related Years
  • The Three Stages of Menopause
  • Turning St Catherine’s Corner

Different Differences

Can menopause mean different things to different people?

I think the term menopause can be like the terms anxiety, diet and love and mean different things, to different people, at different times, in different places.

When I use the term menopause what I mean may be different to what someone else means or what is meant in medicaltalk.

It can therefore be important when the term menopause is used to be clear about what is meant, so we may work out whether we are on the same page meaning the same thing or not. The International Menopause Society (IMS) acknowledge:

“Throughout the world, misuse of terminology related to the field of menopause has caused a great deal of confusion and misinformation among healthcare providers, those in research, the media, and the public”.2

Terminology

Can menopause terminology mean different things to different people?

The (British) Healthtalk.org note:

“Menopause means the ‘last menstrual period’. However, many women say they are ‘going through the menopause’ when talking about the time leading up to their final period when they notice changes in their menstrual cycle and the onset of symptoms such as hot flushes and sweats. Women are said to have reached the menopause when they haven’t had a period for one year”.3

Meaning

What does the word “menopause” mean?

DotS the meaning of the word menopause may vary. The (German) Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care note:

“The word “menopause” might be misleading because it is not a “pause,” but an ending. Women can no longer get pregnant after menopause”.4

The IMS’s meaning is:

“The word menopause simply refers to the permanent end of menstruation. It is derived from the Greek words for ‘month’ (men) and ‘cessation’ (pausis)”.5

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) meaning is:

“The word ‘menopause’ comes from the Greek words ‘menos’, meaning month, and ‘pause’, meaning to cease. So, menopause means the ‘monthly’ (the period) stops”.6

Definition

What is menopause?Menopause

DotS the definition of menopause may vary. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) and the IMS’s definition is:

“Menopause (natural menopause) – the term natural menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity. Natural menopause is recognized to have occurred after 12 consecutive months of amenorrhea, for which there is no other obvious pathological or physiological cause. Menopause occurs with the final menstrual period (FMP) which is known with certainty only in retrospect a year or more after the event”.7

The North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) definition is:

“Menopause is a normal, natural event—defined as the final menstrual period and usually confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months (in the absence of other obvious causes)”.8

The Australasian Menopause Society’s (AMS) definition is:

“The term “menopause” refers to the final menstrual period”.9

The JH’s definition is:

“Menopause is the final menstrual period. Sometimes you only know you have had your final menstrual period if you have had no period for 12 months, as periods can occur very irregularly leading up to menopause and can happen months apart”.10

The (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period”.11

Retrospective

Why is menopause sometimes called ‘retrospective’?

Menopause is sometimes called ‘retrospective’ because menopause is not ‘official’ until at least 12 consecutive months after a woman’s FMP.

Stop. Start…

What if periods stop for a few months then start again?

Each time periods stop for a few months then start again, we have to stop counting then start again, until we reach at least 12 consecutive months or 12 months of uninterrupted counting. The JH explain:

“It can be difficult to know when your period is your last. You might not have a period for some months and have symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, sweats, sleep disturbance, dry vagina, crawling feelings under the skin or mood swings. This means you are probably perimenopausal. Menopause has definitely occurred if it has been 12 months since your last period. However, sometimes bleeding stops for other reasons. If you don’t have typical menopausal symptoms, are younger than 45 years, or have other symptoms that don’t fit the picture of menopause, then you should seek medical advice”.12

Change of Life

Why is the menopause sometimes called ‘the change of life’?

The AMS explain:

“The menopause is sometimes called ‘the change of life’ as it marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. At menopause, ovulation no longer occurs and production of oestrogen and progesterone ceases”.13

In Menopause FAQ: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What is menopause? the NAMS note:

“Menopause is associated with reduced age-related functioning of the ovaries, resulting in lower levels of estrogen and other hormones. It marks the permanent end of fertility”.14 

Normal or Not

Is menopause normal?

Yes. Menopause is normal. The IMS explain:

“Menopause is not a disease but a natural transition in a woman’s life that results from a decrease in the ovarian production of sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone and testosterone”.15

Age

What is the average age of menopause?

According to the IMS:

“In Caucasian women, the average age of menopause is between the ages of 50 and 52 years, although in some societies or ethnic groups the average age is several years earlier”.16

Common or Not

How common is menopause?

In 2015, the NAMS note:

“An estimated 6,000 US women reach menopause every day (more than 2 million per year)”.17

Same or Not

Do all women experience the same menopause?

No. Menopause is not one-size-fits-all. Although all women have a FMP, different women experience different symptoms, at different times, in different ways, for different lengths of time, before and after their FMP.

In Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Menopause – Symptoms the (British) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guideline, the NICE elaborate on:

“Menopause affects every woman differently. You may have no symptoms at all, or they might be brief and short lived. For some women they are severe and distressing. You can still get menopause symptoms if you have had a hysterectomy (an operation to remove your womb). Other natural changes as you age can be intensified by menopause. For example, you may lose some muscle strength and have a higher risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease”.18

Menopausal Hormone Therapy

What is one of the points of consensus about menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)?

One of the points of consensus in the Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section B: General Principles Governing the Use of MHT – endorsed by seven menopause-related organizations – published online 20 June 2016, is:

  • “Consideration of MHT for symptom relief or osteoporosis prevention should be a part of an overall strategy including lifestyle recommendations regarding diet, exercise, smoking cessation and safe levels of alcohol consumption for maintaining the health and quality of life of peri- and postmenopausal women”.19

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with my menopause?

If you would like help with your menopause, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The JH explain:

Menopause

“Depending on your symptoms, you may like to see a general practitioner, a gynaecologist, endocrinologist (hormone specialist), registered naturopath, psychologist or dietitian”.20

The JH also note:

“See Your Doctor If:

  • You are troubled by less regular periods
  • You have symptoms of menopause that interfere with daily life
  • You have symptoms of depression and anxiety, including changes to your thinking, eating, sleeping and enjoyment of activities”.21

The Mayo Clinic encourage us to seek help:

“Before deciding on any form of treatment, talk with your doctor about your options and the risks and benefits involved with each. Review your options yearly, as your needs and treatment options may change”.22

In Menopause: When To See Your GP the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service) elaborate on:

“It’s worth talking to your GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age”.23

Who is a GP?

DotS and/or DotC (Depending on the Country) a GP may be a qualified and registered general practitioner, a medical practitioner, a medical doctor or a doctor.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Menopause?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Menopause?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted above?

You may find the Sources at:

Sources

  1. About Menopause: What Is Menopause? Last Updated 04 February 2019 — Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  2. Menopause Terminology. International Menopause Society http://www.imsociety.org/menopause_terminology.php Accessed: 02 August 2019
  3. Menopause: Overview – The Menopause: What Is the Menopause? What Is the Menopause? Last Reviewed: July 2018. Last Updated: July 2018. Healthtalk.org http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/later-life/menopause/what-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  4. Menopause: Overview – Introduction. Last Update: 24 August 2016. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072495/ Accessed: 02 August 2019
  5. Women and Menopause: General Information. 2012:1. International Menopause Society http://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2012/wmd_general_menopause_backgrounder.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  6. About Menopause: What Is Menopause? Last Updated 04 February 2019 – Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  7. Menopause Terminology: Definitions – Menopause. International Menopause Society http://www.imsociety.org/menopause_terminology.php Accessed: 02 August 2019
  8. Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What is menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-an-introduction-to-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  9. What Is Menopause? Key Points. Content Updated February 2016. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/185-what-is-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  10. About Menopause: What Is Menopause? Last Updated 04 February 2019 — Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  11. Menopause: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 07 August 2017. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397 Accessed: 02 August 2019
  12. About Menopause: Diagnosis of Menopause. Last Updated 04 February 2019 — Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause/ Accessed: 02 August 2019
  13. What Is Menopause? Content Updated February 2016. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/185-what-is-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  14. Menopause FAQs: An Introduction To Menopause – Q. What is menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-an-introduction-to-menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  15. Women and Menopause: General Information. 2012:1. International Menopause Society http://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2012/wmd_general_menopause_backgrounder.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  16. Maintaining Health and Preventing Disease After the Menopause. 2014:2. International Menopause Society http://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2014/booklets/ims_wmd_booklet_2014_english.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  17. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Practice: A Clinician’s Guide – Chapter 1: Overview of Menopause: Demographics. 5th Edition 2015:1
  18. Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Menopause – Symptoms. Published Date: November 2015. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23/ifp/chapter/Menopause Accessed: 02 August 2019
  19. De Villiers, T. J., Hall, J. E., Pinkerton, J. V., Pérez, S. C., Rees, M., Yang, C. and Pierroz, D. D. Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section B: General Principles Governing the Use of MHT. Climacteric, 2016;19:4:314 http://www.imsociety.org/manage/images/pdf/ba6379e868044bec13015ac2b84f2753.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  20. Menopause: What Can You Do To Help With Menopause? Updated September 2018:2. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Menopause.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  21. Menopause: See Your Doctor If. Updated September 2018:2. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Menopause.pdf Accessed: 02 August 2019
  22. Menopause: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 07 August 2017. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401 Accessed: 02 August 2019
  23. Menopause: Overview – When To See Your GP. Page Last Reviewed: 29 August 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/#when-to-see-your-gp Accessed: 02 August 2019
Topic Last Updated: 02 August 2019 – Topic Last Reviewed: 02 August 2019
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