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Menopause (also known as the 'Change of life') is a stage of the reproductive lifecycle that every woman goes through at some point in her life, usually in the fifth or sixth decade, where the ovaries stop producing estrogen. This causes the reproductive system to gradually shut down and alters hormone levels drastically. As the body adapts to the changing levels of natural hormones, symptoms such as hot flashes[?], mood-swings[?], increased depression and anxiety, and increasingly scanty and erratic menstrual periods are common.

Menopause takes place gradually over a number of years.

Post-menopausal women are at increased risk of osteoporosis, mostly among European women.

The average onset of menopause is 50.5 years, but some women enter menopause at a younger age, especially if they have suffered from cancer or another serious illness and undergone chemotherapy. Chemotherapy frequently induces premature menopause.

Some women see menopause as being a normal stage of their life-cycle and one which will eventually pass by itself without medical intervention. Some doctors would disagree with that view, and medical 'treatments' for menopausal symptoms have been developed, eg. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

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