By Jennifer Drapkin, published on March 1, 2005 - last reviewed on March 31, 2006
Men and women often confront similar problems as they grow older: weight gain, memory loss, insomnia and serious health problems like heart disease. Men pin these troubles on the passage of time. But according to recent research, women often point to menopause as their fall guy.
"Menopause is such a milestone that things get attributed to it that are really part of the [normal] aging process," says Katherine Sharkey, a physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Other than bothersome hot flashes, which occur when hormonal changes confuse the brain's temperature center, menopause is not directly responsible for medical problems or significant changes in the brain, researchers say.
The lesson: Menopause can be a daunting hurdle, but it may not be as high as we think.