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.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION I SHOULD KNOW about EstroGel®  (AN ESTROGEN HORMONE)?

  • Using estrogen-alone may increase your 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 out the cause.
  • Do not use estrogen-alone to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or dementia (decline in brain function).
  • Using estrogen-alone may increase your chances of getting strokes and blood clots.
  • Using estrogen-alone may increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65 years of age or older.
  • Do not use estrogens with progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attack, strokes or dementia.
  • Using estrogens with progestins may increase your chances of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, or blood clots.
  • Using estrogens with progestins may increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65 years of age 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, currently have or have had blood clots, currently have or have had liver problems, have been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, are allergic to EstroGel or any of its ingredients, or think you may be pregnant.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any unusual vaginal bleeding, have any other medical conditions, are going to have surgery or will be on bed rest, are breastfeeding, and about all the medicines you take.

Serious but less common side effects include heart attack, stroke, blood clots, dementia, breast cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus (womb), cancer of the ovary, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, gallbladder disease, liver problems, changes in your thyroid hormone levels, and enlargement of benign tumors (“fibroids”).

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

If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider.

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.

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