Menopause: Vaginal Estrogen Ring

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·Menopause is the time in a woman's life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The ovary, or female gonad, is one of a pair of reproductive glands in women. ·The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.

·The average age of menopause onset is 51 years old. There is no single method to predict when a woman will experience menopause.
·The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.
·A women is in menopause when she has had no menstrual periods (menses) for 12 months and has no other medical reason for her menses to stop. ·Symptoms of menopause can be divided into early and late onset symptoms. Early symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, and mood changes. Late symptoms include vaginal dryness and irritation, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

·Treatments for menopause are directed toward alleviating the symptoms present in the particular woman affected.

*What is menopause?

Menopause is the time in a woman's life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The ovary, or female gonad, is one of a pair of reproductive glands in women. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries produce eggs (ova) and female hormones. During each monthly menstrual cycle, an egg is released from one ovary. The egg travels from the ovary through a fallopian tube to the uterus.

The ovaries are the main source of female hormones, which control the development of female body characteristics such as the breasts, body shape, and body hair. The hormones also regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman. Scientists are still determining all the factors that affect when this transition begins and the details of how it occurs. The average age of menopause is 51 years old. Although women tend to undergo menopause at an age similar to that of their mothers, this is only a rough "rule of thumb." In fact, there is no single method to predict when a woman will experience menopause. The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is not related to the age of menopause onset.

When does a woman know she is in menopause?

In order to be menopausal, a woman must have had no menstrual periods (menses) for 12 months and have no other medical reason for her menses to stop. Therefore, a woman cannot know she is menopausal unless she has not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Are hormone levels or other blood tests helpful in detecting menopause?

Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable indicator for diagnosing menopause. Even if levels are low one day, they may be high the next day in the same woman. Although hormone levels of several blood tests are available, there is no particular single blood test yet that reliably allows a doctor to predict when a women is going to go through menopause in the future, or if she is experiencing the beginning of the menopausal transition. At present, there is no proven role for blood testing regarding menopause except for tests to exclude medical causes of erratic menstrual periods other than menopause. The only way to diagnose menopause is to observe lack of menstrual periods for 12 months in a woman in the expected age range.

*What are the symptoms of menopause?

The symptoms of menopause can be divided into early and late onset symptoms. Treatment is directed toward the particular symptoms present. Early symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, hot flashes, and mood changes. Late symptoms include vaginal dryness and irritation, osteoporosis,...
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