What causes menopause?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Near menopause, the number of ovarian follicles declines, and the follicles become less responsive to luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), thereby producing less estrogen.  Ovulation and menstruation become more irregular and eventually stop, which is menopause.  Watch the animation to learn more about menopause.

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Menopause occurs when there are no longer any active eggs left in the ovaries due to normal aging or as a result of chemotherapy or surgery. At birth, there are about 1 million eggs (ova). This number drops to around 300,000 or 400,000 at puberty, but only about 400 of these ova will actually mature during the reproductive years. By the time a woman reaches the age of 50, few eggs remain. With menopause, the absence of active follicles (the cellular housings of the eggs) results in reduced production of estrogen and progesterone. In response to this drop in estrogen, the pituitary gland increases secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The fluctuation of hormones, particularly the decline in estrogen and progesterone, is the cause of many perimenopausal and menopausal complaints.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

More About this Book

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

Continue Learning about Menopause

Menopause and Sex
Menopause and Sex
News flash. Remember the umpteen stories you've read about how women's sex drive goes into reverse once she enters her perimenopause years (typically,...
Read More
What foods and drinks should I avoid to prevent hot flashes?
Dr. Julia Schlam EdelmanDr. Julia Schlam Edelman
Whether it is consumed in the form of beer, wine, hard liquor or a mixed drink, alcohol is almost ce...
More Answers
8 Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
8 Signs and Symptoms of Menopause8 Signs and Symptoms of Menopause8 Signs and Symptoms of Menopause8 Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Why Anxiety Could be a Sign of Menopause
Why Anxiety Could be a Sign of Menopause

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.