What is Menopause?
Menopause is the point in time when a woman’s periods stop.  Once a woman has stopped having periods for an entire year, she can look back and say that the period one year ago was her menopause, literally, the pause (or end) of her menses.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the transition between pre- and post-menopause. This phase is marked by irregular periods, fluctuating hormone levels, and the classic symptoms of menopause. Women will skip periods for several months in this phase, but not for a whole year.  It often feels like an extended and more severe PMS.
What is post-menopause?
Post-menopause is the phase that begins immediately after menopause. When a woman has missed her period for an entire year, she can look back and say that date one year ago was her menopause, and so now she has been post-menopausal for one year.  Strange that we can’t diagnose it until a year after it has happened, and when we realize it, we’ve already been there for a year, but that’s the way it is.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The classic symptoms of menopause are irregular or missed periods, hot flashes or flushes, night sweats, dry skin and hair and vaginal dryness. Other symptoms include moodiness, anxiety, insomnia and sometimes depression. Don’t despair, not everyone has all of these symptoms, and many symptoms are manageable with lifestyle modifications or medications.
What is a hot flash?
A hot flash is a sudden, intense rush of warmth, usually on the upper torso, chest, neck and head.  It is often accompanied by flushing and sweating. Most hot flashes will only last a few minutes, but some women are left drenched in sweat. The drying sweat may cause chills, which is why women talk about hot flashes and cold sweats.