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MENOPAUSE

Menopause, or change of life, is the last menstrual period in a women's life and marks the end of her fertility. The hormone changes leading to natural menopause develop gradually over several years and can cause significant physical, emotional and psychological symptoms and changes. When a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months, and there is no other cause, menopause is confirmed. Most women reach natural menopause somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55 years the average for Australian women is 51-52 years. The changes leading to natural menopause begin as a woman's ovaries start to produce less of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. This may cause changes in the menstrual cycle and also menopause symptoms. Over time hormone levels continue to decrease until eventually menstruation stops. The transition between regular periods and menopause is called perimenopause. Oestrogen and progesterone influence mood, weight, body shape, appetite, skin, sex drive,

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