Menstruation and menopause are often explained as isolated aspects of physiology.
However, if viewed from an integrated perspective you can easily see the close relationship menstruation has with overall health, and the connection between premenopause, perimenopause, menopause (the permanent cessation of menstruation) and postmenopause.
The menopause is defined as …
… ‘the cessation of the menstrual cycle. It is caused by ovarian failure. The term is derived from the Greek menos, meaning month, and pausos, meaning an ending. The median age at which the menopause occurs in the UK is approximately 51 years. Women who have been through the menopause are considered to be postmenopausal.’ Management of the Menopause (sixth edition) – British Menopause Society
However, Menopause is not a condition or process that sits in its own physiological bubble that may only affect a few. Menopause transition is not a standalone time in a person’s life.
- Menopause is not optional.
- Menstruation starts.
- Menstruation stops.
In that respect, menopause is not complicated.
Typically you travel the Hormone Highway over a 40 year time span. However the bigger picture of this well known fact of our human biology is yet to be given the full consideration it deserves. In addition, whilst the mechanics of menopause has not changed, the life we live has.
The guidance we issue has been designed to simply and effectively layer the knowledge, in such a way as to join the dots between menstruation and menopause. Our innovative approach to telling the story of menopause provides a relevant and meaningful starting point in the conversation around the modern menopause.
The Menopause School facilitate the learning of the physiology to take into account life in the 21st century and the mechanism for delivering appropriate menopause care.
Menopause is in fact one day (or moment in time), reached 12 consecutive months without a period. The next day is classed as postmenopause. This makes it retrospective in its diagnosis. Assuming periods started around puberty, periods will inevitably come to an end. 85% of this pattern is determined in DNA. The menstrual cycle timeline is expected to last approximately 40 years. In this regard the blueprint is considered a typical, natural (of nature), pattern.
The Menopause School terms of reference:
In order to include everyone in the conversation around menstruation and menopause we are mindful that not all menstruators are women, and not every woman menstruates. Therefore we use the words menstruator or people who menstruate interchangeably when referring to those assigned female at birth.
The word co-menstruator is used to describe a person who has never experienced a menstrual cycle. The terms male and female will be used in reference to anatomy & physiology to explain the biology of menstruation to menopause.