The term “menopause” derives from the Greek meaning “having stopped the ‘monthly’”(i.e. menstruation). It refers to the time following the last menstrual period. As such, the beginning of that time span can only be made retrospectively after a woman has not menstruated for twelve consecutive months. Only then can the statement be made “I am menopausal”. The term does not apply if other biological or physiological changes are identified.
“Climacteric” is a more embracing term, which indicates the time when a woman passes through a transition from the reproductive phase of her life to the postmenopausal years. It is a period marked by waning ovarian function. In practice, however, the terms climacteric and menopause are often used interchangeable.
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