What is postmenopause?

Postmenopause refers to the time period after menopause. Although menopause marks the end of fertility and is defined as 12 months without a menstrual period, the term postmenopause is used more in association with a symptom or complaint -- for example, postmenopausal bleeding, postmenopausal osteoporosis or postmenopausal depression.
Julia Schlam Edelman
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Postmenopause begins when a woman has had 12 consecutive months with no menstrual bleeding. In postmenopause, menstrual cycles are no longer possible and fertility ends. The ovaries have released their last follicles and there are no eggs remaining. Postmenopause is a permanent state.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Postmenopause refers to the period in a woman's life when she is has transitioned into menopause and has stopped getting her period for at least a year. When it occurs naturally, it follows a gradual decline in estrogen. So beginning in her late 30s her ovaries will begin to make less and less estrogen. Eventually she will reach menopause and be postmenopausal, usually by the age of 55. But younger women can become postmenopausal too and that can occur because her ovaries have been removed surgically, or when they are damaged by cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. She can also be postmenopausal at a younger age if she has the condition called premature ovarian failure (POF). This is often a permanent condition that causes a women to enter menopause much earlier in life.
Menopause, or the change in life ending your fertility, produces a variety of changes including sexual energy. During menopause, your level of estrogen drops. The decreased estrogen can cause sadness, fatigue, and other emotional problems that dampen your sex drive (libido).

Add the physical changes to your body including breast sensitivity and vaginal dryness, and you've got a damaged sexual life. Replacing the estrogen helps some women regain their sexual energy and desire.

Talk to your doctor about whether estrogen therapy may improve your sexual energy.

Postmenopause is the term for all the years beyond menopause. It begins after you have not had a period for 12 months in a row, whether your menopause was natural or brought on by treatment for a condition.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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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.