What Causes Menopause?

Menopause is one of the greatest physical milestones of a woman’s life; for many this change brings fears of the loss of physical and mental function and the onset of old age. Though it is important to follow your body’s natural rhythms and changes as you age, menopause doesn’t have to be something that is painful or traumatic.

Menopause is marked by the cessation of menstrual bleeding caused by a decrease in estrogen in the body. This occurs when the ovaries, the female reproductive organs, become unable to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

The ovaries may simply run out of follicles or eggs at around the age of 50 years and it is the follicles within the ovaries that produce the vast majority of estrogen and all of the progesterone.

Even after menopause the ovaries do have an important function because they continue to produce very small quantities of estrogen and significant amounts of testosterone.

After menopause, the adrenal glands continue producing hormones that are converted into estrogen in a woman’s adipose or fat tissue. The amount of estrogen produced this way varies depending on the amount of body fat an individual has and the health of her adrenal glands.