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Medical Treatment

Most women experience perimenopausal symptoms between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five, with the actual cessation of menstruation as the final chapter. The slowdown of estrogen is thought to contribute to menopausal symptoms. However, culture clearly has a place in the construction of meaning of symptoms. Hot flashes are not prevalent enough in Japan to indicate konenki, whereas in the United States and Europe, this is the defining symptom of menopause.

In the United States, endocrine transitions are emphasized in the analysis of menopause, while in Japan, physicians understand the symptoms as functions of the autonomic nervous system. In Japan, medication may be prescribed to improve the hormone system, but treatments are given to improve circulation, which is seen as faulty (Lock 1993).

Medical treatment remains controversial because of the side effects of hormone replacement therapy (Spira and Berger 1999). Many women may be ashamed of their symptoms as an indication of advancing age (and implied loss of role and status). As women assume new roles, unaffected Medical intervention for the symptoms of menopause remains controversial as all of the side effects of hormone replacement therapy are still unknown. STEPHEN WELSTEAD/CORBIS by biological change, they may perceive the symptoms of menopause as less important (Spira and Berger 2001).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaOther Marriage & Family TopicsMenopause - Cultural And Social Meanings, Menopausal Symptoms, Preparation For Menopause, Medical Treatment, Conclusion