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An in-depth report on the treatment of menopause-related symptoms.
Estrogen; Hormone replacement therapy
The ovaries have 200,000 - 400,000 follicles, tiny sacks that contain the materials needed to produce mature eggs, or ova. The ovaries produce two major female hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen. Estrogens have an effect on about 300 different tissues throughout a woman's body:
Estrogen has different forms:
Most of the estrogens in the body are produced by the ovaries, but they can also be formed by other tissues, such as body fat, skin, and muscle.
Progesterone. Progesterone, the other major female hormone, is necessary for thickening and preparing the uterine lining for the fertilized egg.
As a woman ages, her supply of eggs declines. Menopause occurs naturally after a woman's ovaries fail to function and menstruation ends completely. (Menopause may also be induced if the ovaries are surgically removed.)
Perimenopause. Menopause does not occur suddenly. A period called perimenopause usually begins a few years before the last menstrual cycle. There are two stages in the transition:
Menopause. Menopause is considered to have occurred when a woman has gone a full 12 months without a period. At the point at which menopause occurs, the following hormonal changes occur:
The average age that women reach menopause is 51 years although it can occur as early as age 40 to as late as the early 60s. Women now have a life expectancy of more than 80 years. Currently, women can expect to live some 30 or 40 years of their life in the postmenopausal state.
Menopause is not a disease. However, many conditions are associated with estrogen depletion, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and other complications. Fortunately, effective treatments are available for these conditions.
In a number of studies, most women have reported menopause as a positive experience and have welcomed it with relief and as a sign of a new stage in life.
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