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Menopause is a time of change in a woman’s life. Some see it as a change for the better, because it frees them from the inconvenience of menstruation. Others see it as a sign of fading youth. In fact, it is simply a biological process that marks the passing from one stage of life to another.

The term “menopause” actually refers to the point when a woman hasn’t had a menstrual period in 12 consecutive months; however, many women refer to the years that leads up to the last period as “going through menopause.” The medical name for this pre-menopause stage is “perimenopause.”

During perimenopause a woman’s ovaries gradually begin producing less estrogen, which causes menstrual periods to become irregular and, eventually, to stop. If a woman has had her ovaries removed surgically, her menstrual periods will stop abruptly.

For most women, perimenopause brings with it symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. After menopause, the lack of hormones can contribute to heart problems and weakened bones (osteoporosis).

Fortunately, there are a variety of remedies to treat the temporary symptoms of perimenopause as well as long-term health consequences that can follow menopause. One of the most well-known treatments is hormone replacement therapy, but it is not the only treatment. After getting all the facts and having an open and frank discussion with her doctor, each woman must decide for herself what treatment is right for her.

If you need help sorting out the confusing, often conflicting information surrounding menopause and menopause treatments, or if you need help finding relief from the temporary symptoms of perimenopause, your Sobeys Pharmacist is always available for consultation.

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