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Menopause is the natural phase of a woman’s life after her menstrual cycle has come to an end. Women in menopause no longer have periods and can no longer become pregnant.

If you are age 40 or above and you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, you’ve entered menopause. For some women, menopause may begin after certain medical procedures, such as a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries), radiation or chemotherapy.

Our Unique Approach to Menopause Care

The University of Chicago Medicine offers a personalized approach to managing symptoms associated with menopause. Our certified menopause practitioners are experts in helping women through this natural phase of life. Every woman experiences menopause differently. At UChicago Medicine, your care reflects that uniqueness. 

Our gynecologists provide customized menopause consultations on an individual basis. We offer comprehensive evaluations and treatment for numerous medical problems that affect women in midlife, and our interdisciplinary approach provides patients with leading-edge care in state-of-the-art facilities.

Perimenopause is the period of time leading into menopause. During perimenopause — which often lasts four to eight years — you may start to experience symptoms that vary in duration and severity and continue into menopause. Make a first-time appointment or schedule a second-opinion consultation to learn about treatment options available to manage:

  • Changes in weight, hair or skin 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular periods
  • Memory challenges
  • Mood changes 
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Urinary symptoms
  • Vaginal dryness

Menopause is a natural process. However, some women experience menopause earlier than most due to surgery, medical treatments or genetic disorders. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause at younger than age 40, consult with your doctor to see if you should consider hormone replacement therapy to help prevent cardiovascular disease and protect your bone health.

Menopause symptoms can cause significant quality of life issues for women. Fortunately, there are numerous safe and effective treatment options that can help, including:

  • Non-hormonal treatments
  • Hormonal treatments, including bioidentical hormonal therapies
  • Complementary and alternative medicine, such as acupuncture

After a thorough review of your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will discuss your options with you.

UChicago Medicine frequently conducts research on health issues affecting women both before and during menopause. As a participant in UChicago Medicine clinical trials, you may gain access to experimental treatments that are not widely available at other hospitals. Ask your doctor if participating in a clinical trial could be right for you, or check UChicago Medicine's listing of clinical trials for obstetrics and gynecology studies currently enrolling patients.

Menopause expert Dr. Monica Christmas

Menopause Expertise from Monica Christmas, MD

In addition to her role as director of the Menopause Program at UChicago Medicine, Monica Christmas, MD, also serves as chief menopause editor for the women's health and wellness blog WomanLab.

Read Dr. Christmas' menopause articles

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