Women's Health (cont.)

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Motherhood

A woman who has children devotes a large proportion of her life to motherhood. Although a woman's fertility is limited roughly to a 40 year period, her mothering responsibilities may last considerably longer -- 60 years or so. And most mothers never cease being concerned about the health and welfare of their children (and grandchildren), no matter what their ages. In other words, a mother is a mother forever.

During the time of motherhood, a woman is responsible not only for maintaining her own health but also for maximizing the health of her family. Roughly one-third of all children in this country (19 million) live apart from their fathers, which means that society still relies on mothers to protect and nurture their children.

Menopause

The term menopause is used to describe an event or a period of time in a woman's life. In some contexts, it is used to designate a period of a number of years, typically the time when a woman is in her 40's through the decade of her 50's and beyond. Strictly speaking, a woman is said to have experienced menopause when she has had 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. On the average, menopause occurs around 51 years of age. The premenopausal process, however, actually begins in the early 40's or earlier. Diminishing sex hormone levels can be measured in a woman in her mid-30's.

"Menopausal" women represent a major component of the population; an estimated 50 million women in the US have reached menopause. Most women can expect to spend around 1/3 of their lives after menopause has occurred.

Menopause has often been referred to as "the change of life" because it is a time in a woman's life when menstruation stops and she can no longer bear children. Symptoms of menopause may include:

Until the 1950's, society's attitude was that menopause is a woman's destiny and she should just accept it. Now there are many medical strategies to cope with the symptoms of menopause. Women are encouraged to think of menopause not as a cataclysmic event in life, but merely as a time of transition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2014

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Women's Health - Menopause Symptoms Question: What were your first symptoms and signs of menopause? Which symptoms were/have been the most challenging?
Menstruation - Symptoms Question: What symptoms do you experience during your menstrual period? How do you relieve your worst symptoms?
Pregnancy - Symptoms Question: What were the first changes you noticed in your body early in your pregnancy?