What Is Menopause?

Menopause refers to the time during which a woman's ovaries begin producing less estrogen and progesterone and cease the ripening and releasing of ova. The transition can last up to five years and typically occurs at mid-life. The hallmark of menopause is a woman's loss of menstrual cycle—rendering her unable to conceive for the remainder of her life. But a woman's body undergoes many additional changes that are both physical and psychological in nature, including hot flashes, night sweats, irregular heartbeat, headaches, and sleep difficulties. Menopause is also often accompanied by mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety, as well as cognitive symptoms like forgetfulness. Other symptoms of menopause may include urine leakage, vaginal dryness, infection, painful sexual intercourse, and joint aches or pains.

Recent Posts on Menopause

Shaping Women's Lives: Our Bodies, Ourselves

"Our Bodies, Ourselves" is listed in the Library of Congress "Books That Shaped America.” Since its original publication more than 40 years ago, the book set a foundation for evidence-based, culturally appropriate information on women’s health, sexuality, and reproduction. Co-author Judy Norsigian says, “Gatekeepers no longer have the control they had in the past.”

Improving Sex Drive

An unexpected new contributor?

Valerian for Sleep and Weaning Off Anxiety Medications

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on March 05, 2015 in Inner Source
Which herb may be the best for sleep, and also help avoid withdrawal from anti-anxiety drugs?

Intimacy in Bedroom Improves with Age

By Kimberly Key on February 27, 2015 in Counseling Keys
Sex with the wrong partner can have deleterious effects on your self-esteem. Learn the four keys to an awesome sex life.

Smoking and Weight: Those "Burnt-out Ends of Smoky Days"

By Sylvia R Karasu M.D. on February 20, 2015 in The Gravity of Weight
The dangers of cigarette smoking are well-known, but many people continue to smoke because of the fear that they will gain weight after they stop. What do we know about the effects of smoking and smoking cessation on weight?

Does 'Popping a Pill' turn Normal into 'Abnormal'?

By Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Why We Worry
We must be wary about ‘medicalizing’ problems in daily living so that they become viewed as ‘abnormal’

Broken Heart Syndrome

Examining the physics of broken heart syndrome

Starting Antidepressants? About the Weight Gain

After the hectics of the holiday season and the reality of a New Year setting in, many become depressed and turn to a physician for help. Must the proposed cure cause a physical overexpansion?

The Pleasures and Perils of Fighting Among Ourselves

The Pleasures and Perils of Fighting Among Ourselves. A polarized group becomes less effective as its members become more certain. By Susan Kolod, Ph.D

Sleep, as We Get Older

By John Cline Ph.D. on December 29, 2014 in Sleepless in America
With advancing age there are changes in sleep pattern, sleep quantity and sleep quality. Sleep remains important for good health throughout our lives and understanding how these changes affect the sleep of older individuals can help people to maximize the quality and quantity of their sleep and thus their health.

Ask Your Doctor If You Should Take Advice from a Commercial

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on December 10, 2014 in Mental Wealth
Commercials about psychiatric drugs are now ubiquitous. Are they helpful or harmful?

Five Things Everyone Can Be Thankful For

By Peg Streep on November 24, 2014 in Tech Support
Sometimes, when we feel stressed or under the gun, it's hard to be thankful. Here are five observations that should silence your inner kvetch, served up with just enough snarkiness and science to make it palatable.

Our First Birthday

By Sharon Praissman on November 15, 2014 in Beyond the Egg Timer
One year into blogging, Sharon reflects on what we have learned and our progress offering factual and helpful information to women over 35 who are trying to conceive. We also have a special announcement!

Ten Scientific Reasons Why You’re Feeling Depressed

We all have those “blah” days, but why do they happen and what can we do about them? The latest research studies show many potential culprits, ranging from the weather and hormones to brain chemistry, negative thinking, and lifestyle. Read on to find out more.

Beauty Matters Part 1: The Hardware of Sexual Attraction

By Eva Ritvo M.D. on November 04, 2014 in On Vitality
There is no escaping our ancient sexual hardwiring when it comes to our primal responses to archetypes of beauty. We are, however, completely able to update our software. But to successfully update our beauty software, we must further understand our beauty hardware.

Leading the Way Up the Corporate Ladder :

By Audrey Nelson Ph.D. on October 26, 2014 in He Speaks, She Speaks
“You have a woman boss? Oh no, I feel for you. I had a woman boss once, and it was terrible.” Heard those words before? Why would someone feel that way about having a woman boss? Who would you rather work for, a man or a woman? Most men say they’d rather work for a man. And most women say the same thing. . How can that be?

Do You Wish You Were Younger?

I don't wish I were thirty because I know too well what thirty-year-olds are actually thinking. They are thinking “OH MY ACHING GOD I AM THIRTY AND WHAT I AM DOING WITH MY LIFE?” At least when you’re fifty, you know what you’re doing with your life, even if you don’t like it.

The First Jhana

By Susan Blackmore Ph.D. on October 02, 2014 in Ten Zen Questions
I described how I came to attend a jhanas retreat with Leigh Brasington, and how I learned to focus attention narrowly and firmly on my breath entering and leaving my nose.

When Statistics are Seriously Sexy

Maybe you don’t think of statistics as sexy. But Christian Rudder's new book "Dataclysm" might very well change your mind about that. He has mined the data from the clicks and messages of millions of online daters to reveal some surprising patterns of human choice, and he argues convincingly that Big Data can tell us things that traditional scientific methods can not.

Good Sex Without Intercourse

By Isadora Alman MFT on September 19, 2014 in Sex & Sociability
Satisfying sex need not be abandoned due to any physical challenge.

Sex Without Intercourse: A Hot Option for Lovers of All Ages

By Michael Castleman M.A. on September 15, 2014 in All About Sex
Contrary to what's shown in the movies and on TV, intercourse is not necessary for great sex.

5 Tips on How to be Funny in an Unfunny World

By Judy Carter on September 15, 2014 in Stress Is a Laughing Matter
This week has been stressful! I’ve segued from ISIS beheadings to Joan Rivers' death, stopping to take note that Kim Kardashian is a mother. It’s hard to laugh, but we have to... Here's how...

The Second Curse on Women: Menopause

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on September 07, 2014 in How We Do It
Women rapidly lose fertility when about 50. Maximum lifespan is about 125 years, so infertility lasts decades. Menopause has unpleasant side-effects and may be seen as the second curse of womankind, although it does at least mark the end of the first curse, menstruation. But did menopause evolve, or is it just a byproduct of recently extended lifespans?

The 7 Sex Questions Every Couple Has to Answer

By Vanessa Marin MA, MFT on September 02, 2014 in Wedded and Bedded
Planning a wedding is an incredibly busy and exciting time for any couple. There are so many arrangements to make and questions to answer. But in the hustle and bustle of all of the invitations, color palettes, programs, and dresses, it’s important not to forget to plan for what comes after your wedding, namely, your marriage and your sex life!

Empty Nest, Bring It On!

By Rosemary K.M. Sword on August 29, 2014 in The Time Cure
At this time of year in our clinical practice, we noted a slight uptick in folks–usually women–suffering from depression. Some are aware of the cause and some not so much. They have just sent their youngest or only child off to college and have fallen into the void of loss and sorrow known as the Empty Nest Syndrome.

Crying in Public: The Fear of Tears

Learn to express anger as anger rather than as sorrow, so that your outrage isn't misread as grief; get the wiring sorted out so that the lines of emotional communication are as clear and direct as possible.

Panda Love, Menopausal Whales, and Sex Over 50

By Stephen Snyder M.D. on August 18, 2014 in SexualityToday
There are only two kinds of mammals that live past menopause. Humans are one. What's the other?

Clinical Causality

The Causal Landscape is a method for escaping from simplistic, single-cause explanations for conditions such as depression. It depicts a wide array of contributing causes but then highlights the few causes that have the greatest impact and are easiest to change.

Depression and Body Dissatisfaction in Midlife Women

Why are we comparing ourselves to something that is not realistically attainable for most women?