The postmenopausal phase of a woman's life begins at menopause,
which is 1 year after her last menstrual period. While postmenopause usually
begins around age 50, some women become postmenopausal in their mid-40s, and
others do so in their later 50s.
In early postmenopause, a woman's estrogen stabilizes at a low
level. Although low estrogen helps reduce the risk of various types of cancer,
it also leads to bone thinning, which sometimes results in osteoporosis. A
variety of hormonal and nonhormonal treatments are available for postmenopausal
women who have menopausal symptoms. Women are generally encouraged to try
nonhormonal treatment to avoid the cancer, heart, and dementia risks of hormone
Menopause can begin early and suddenly after removal of the
ovaries or after cancer treatment that damages the ovaries.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.