Menopause is defined as the stage in a woman’s life when she has not had a period for a year, and can no longer have children. Each female is born with a limited number of eggs, which are stored in the ovaries and released during her child-bearing years. Menopause takes place when the ovaries no longer release eggs and menstruation stops, usually between the ages of 45 and 55. While this is a normal part of aging, women who undergo surgery to remove the ovaries, have a hysterectomy or suffer damage to the ovaries due to any reason, can go through menopause sooner.
Natural menopause occurs gradually, with the process spread out over several years. This stage, called the Perimenopause, is characterized by lower production of the hormone oestrogen and irregular periods. Women in this stage may also report some symptoms of menopause. Menopause is the point when it has been 12 months since the last period, indicating that the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs, and making most of the oestrogen. Postmenopause refers to the years after menopause, during which women face a range of health issues including osteoporosis, heart disease, urinary incontinence, weight gain etc.