womens health


Menopause is the stage of life when a woman permanently stops having menstrual periods and can no longer become pregnant. Typically this is declared only after a woman has gone a whole year without a menstrual period. While the average age of menopause is 51, it can occur any time from age 30 and up.

Generally, a woman tends to experience menopause at about the same age as her mother did. Women who smoke and are underweight tend to go through menopause at a younger age, while women who are overweight often have a later than average menopause.


Many healthcare providers use the term menopause to include perimenopause — the transitional phase before menopause. This phase can last two to 10 years, during which the production of estrogen and progesterone decreases, the supply of mature eggs in a woman's ovaries diminishes and menstrual periods become increasingly irregular. It is the enormous drop in estrogen levels that causes most of the symptoms commonly associated with perimenopause and menopause.

Staying healthy after menopause

After menopause, good nutrition and regular physical exercise are more important than ever. As women tend to gain more weight after menopause, nutritional needs change, possibly due to lower estrogen levels.

Getting enough calcium is essential in order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and spinal fractures. Regular exercise can help preserve bone mass, keep weight down and relieve stress.

Incontinence, prolapse and other pelvic issues

Over the course of her life, one in every four women will experience some form of pelvic health issue such as bleeding, urinary incontinence or pelvic pain. This number doubles as women age.

Your risk for pelvic issues goes up if you have had more than one child — both vaginal births and Cesareans can lead to pelvic health issues later in life, such as incontinence and pelvic prolapse. What's more, the onset of menopause itself can cause the pelvic floor — the muscles that support the pelvic organs — to weaken.

Adventist Health Ukiah Valley offers modern treatments to help women maintain their health during and after menopause.