Menopause and the Brain; Women's Health; Scientific American Presents; by Wise; 4 Page(s)
A regular menstrual cycle is like a well-oiled machine. Each component must move in time with and match the rhythms of the others. Similarly, hormones in the body that control the menstrual cycle must be released with accurate timing, in the right amounts and in the proper locations. If the rhythms or fine-tuning falls out of step just slightly, menstruation becomes irregular or even stops.
Menopause marks a permanent end to a woman's natural menstrual cycle; on average, women in the U.S. cease menstruating around the age of 50. With increasing numbers of women living into their 70s, 80s and beyond, it is essential that researchers gather reliable and detailed information about what happens before, during and after menopause.