Menopause is a process during which a woman’s reproductive and hormonal cycles slow down, her periods (menstruation) eventually stop, ovaries stop releasing eggs for fertilization and produce less estrogen and progesterone, and the possibility of pregnancy ends. A natural event, which takes place in most women in the 45-55 age group, of menopausal onsets and rates are influenced by a combination of factors, including heredity, smoking, diet and exercise. Menopause is defined as the day after the woman’s final episode of menstrual flow finishes. This date is fixed retrospectively, once 12 months have gone by with no menstrual flow at all.
In a recent trend, Indian woman have shown an increase in the early onset of menopause. According to researchers early onset of menopause is associated with an increased risk of heart conditions and stroke. Pre-menopause are the years leading up to the last period, when the levels of reproductive hormones are already becoming lower and more erratic, and the effects of hormone withdrawal may be present. Often, women who undergo hysterectomies have their ovaries removed and that precipitates rapid menopause. According to research smokers show an earlier onset of menopause by two years as compared to non-smokers.