Melanie Modlin feels lucky to have taken part in a clinical trial related to menopause several years before she herself experienced the menopausal transition.
Researching "the menopause transition"
Hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, insomnia, and moodiness—these are just a few of the symptoms that come to mind as women approach "the menopausal transition." But every woman is different.
Melanie Modlin, Deputy Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison at the National Library of Medicine, was interested in helping researchers learn more about these differences. Therefore, she volunteered for a clinical trial studying the impact of changing hormone levels on thinking ability and sleep.
"I wanted to contribute in some small way, and taking part in the trial was a gift I was happy to give."
While it's a normal part of aging, the menopausal transition feels anything but normal for some women. It most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years, but can last as long as 14 years. During this time, your body begins to produce varying amounts of estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones made by your ovaries.
3 Stages of the Menopausal Transition
- Perimenopause: When hormone levels first start to change and hot flashes and other symptoms may begin. For some women, perimenopause begins as early as age 40.
- Menopause: When ovaries stop making hormones and menstrual periods stop. Typically occurs around age 51. Menopause happens 12 months after a woman's final menstrual period.
- Postmenopause: Follows menopause and lasts the rest of a woman's life.
Early menopause may be triggered by a hysterectomy or surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce hormones, although it can be genetic.