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What is Menopause?
Menopause is the series of changes that occur when a woman's body no longer releases eggs and the ovaries produce significantly lower amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can happen earlier or later. The average age at the beginning of menopause in the United States is 51. It is technically defined as going without a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months when there is no other cause for this change. Aging is the chief cause of menopause.
Menopause can cause many health problems, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness and thinning bones (osteoporosis). Many women try to ease these symptoms by taking hormone replacement therapy consisting of estrogen or an estrogen/progesterone combination.