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Menopause

Menopause is the stage of life when a woman permanently stops having menstrual periods.

Menopause is generally a gradual change over several years. As a woman ages, the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries decreases, and eventually, the ovaries stop making enough estrogen to thicken the uterine lining. This is when menstrual periods stop, and menopause is said to be complete. This stage signals the end of a woman’s ability to have children.

The years leading up to menopause are called perimenopause. This phase can last for up to 10 years. Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for one year.

The normal range for menopause is 45 to 55 years. Women who smoke and are underweight tend to experience an earlier menopause. Women who are overweight often experience a later menopause.

Sometimes younger women go through menopause. If a woman has her ovaries surgically removed, this may trigger severe symptoms of menopause. Women who have a hysterectomy but keep their ovaries may stop menstruating, but they do not immediately experience the symptoms of menopause. They go through menopause at the normal age.

Indiana University Health Women’s Health has skilled specialists who focus on menopausal issues. Through the menopausal/post-reproductive years, it is important to see a physician annually for a physical exam and every three years for Pap screenings.

Annual exams help identify more serious conditions, including heart problems and cancer that become more common with advanced age. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol can damage vital organs if left untreated. Our specialists can provide medical and holistic treatments for any conditions you may experience.

In the last few years of a woman’s menstrual cycle, periods can become more problematic. The symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems, night sweats, irregular bleeding, vaginal dryness and mood swings, can cause great distress. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the specialists at IU Health are happy to discuss what we can do to help make your symptoms more bearable.

As you age, bone health becomes increasingly important. It is estimated that as many as half of all women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. IU Health offers screenings to detect signs of osteoporosis, as well as prevention and treatment options.

After menopause and into the post-reproductive years, cancer rates increase due to age and other factors. Prevalent forms of cancer during these years include breast, endometrium (lining of the uterus), ovarian and cervical cancer. If you experience any sort of bleeding after menopause, it is important to see a physician immediately. The IU Health Gynecology Oncology program offers comprehensive cancer services, including both surgical and non-surgical treatments. 

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Menopause Treatment Information

IU Health provides a wide array of comprehensive services, from gynecology to urogynecology to oncogynecology, to help you identify health conditions and develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. Services for menopause include the following:


Menopause Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.


Menopause Support Services

Resources for women who are experiencing menopause are available from a variety of organizations.