Menopause is the time of life when menstrual cycles cease, and is caused by reduced secretion of the ovarian hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Although menopause is a normal event for women, individual experiences vary, and some women seek medical advice for the management of symptoms. Many symptoms have been attributed to menopause, but only vasomotor dysfunction and vaginal dryness are consistently associated with this time of life in epidemiological studies. Other common symptoms such as mood changes, sleep disturbances, urinary incontinence, cognitive changes, somatic complaints, sexual dysfunction, and reduced quality of life may be secondary to other symptoms, or related to other causes. Trials of therapies for vasomotor dysfunction have shown improvements with oestrogen, gabapentin, paroxetine, and clonidine, but little or no benefit with other agents; adverse effects of these treatments must also be considered. Many questions about menopausal transition and its effects on health have not been adequately addressed.
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