What is Menopause?

Natural Menopause

Menopause is a part of life. It is brought on by a decrease in the production of hormones, such as estrogen. Eventually a woman experiences her last menstrual period. A woman is considered to have experienced natural menopause once she has had no period for one (1) year. 

For some women, menopausal symptoms begin several years before their final period. During this transition, hormone levels in a woman’s reproductive system are constantly changing. This natural fluctuation is what causes menopausal symptoms. 

The symptoms and age at which natural menopause occurs is as different as each woman. Generally a woman may experience menopause anywhere from her 40s to mid-50s. The average age at which a woman goes through natural menopause is 51 years old1,  though it can happen earlier or later in life.  This is when a woman may have symptoms such as irregularity in her periods, hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal irritation.



  • Estrogens increase the chance of getting cancer of the uterus (womb).

Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away while you are using EstroGel. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find the cause.

  • Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia.

Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots.

Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your risk of dementia, based on a study of women age 65 or older.  You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with EstroGel.

Do not start using EstroGel if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, currently have or have had certain cancers, had a stroke or heart attack in the past year, currently have or have had blood clots, currently have or have had liver problems, are allergic to EstroGel or any of its ingredients, or think you may be pregnant.

Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding, about all of your medical problems and medicines you take, and if you are going to have surgery or will be on bedrest.

Serious but less common side effects of estrogens include gallbladder disease, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, liver problems, high blood sugar, and enlargement of benign tumors of the uterus (“fibroids”).

Common side effects of estrogens include headache, breast pain, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, stomach/abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fluid retention, and vaginal yeast infection.

If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider or see full Prescribing Information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

  1. Greendale GA, Lee NP, Arriola ER. The menopause. Lancet. 1999;353(9152):571-580.