The menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, when a woman’s ovaries stop responding to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and produce less of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. This drop in hormone levels brings an end to ovulation and menstruation. In the years just before and after the menopause, hormone changes produce physical symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. The menopause is also associated with long-term physical changes, such as osteoporosis.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.