A woman undergoes a few medically significant stages through the course of her life. A girl is born with a fixed number of oocytes or potential ova which can all become children. These female reproductive cells remain quiescent until shaken awake by the powerful nudges by the new team of various very powerful hormones at an age of around 10 to 12 depending on her nutritional and fitness level.
Puberty is a slow process and takes a few years to stabilize into fairly stable cycle to remain so for a very long time. She under goes a lot of changes during this period. The embryonic female eggs starting developing and one day it is released from one over the ovaries. The preparations the uterus has made to receive the fertilized ovum and nurture it to a child goes waste and sheds its degenerating lining with some blood. That time is the first of her periods.
Menopause and its symptoms
The last of the significant changes a woman undergoes is the complete reversal of the very first one she had. As the woman approaches the ages around 49 to 52 years, this process starts to reverse. In the initial stages of menopause, the cycle remains regular. The interval between periods get longer. Then the hormones try to cox the last ovum to mature and get released. The hormones start to fluctuate and the cycle itself becomes irregular with the period coming at different times and the flow also becomes highly irregular. The lady is as uncertain about her periods as a girl during her puberty. Her interest in matters sex declines and to trouble her more she gradually loses her attractiveness to males (sometimes more psychological and emotional than physical). Sexual intercourse can become painful as the vagina thins and the secretions reduce. The dryness may be more due to her advancing age. All these give her considerable anxiety. She starts getting hot flashes of varying intensity and duration and redness of skin. The duration hot flashes can be anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. These may have associated shivering, sweating and redness of skin. These subside in about a year or two. She suffers from sleeplessness, weight gain, soreness of joints, dry skin and mood swings. These takes some time to settle down. In most cases, physical exercise and a nutritious diet solves the problems considerably.
Menopause by convention is defined to have occurred if the woman does not have a period continuously for a year. It marks the very last ovulation.