What is menopause?

According to National Library of Medline, Menopause is time in a woman's life when her menstrual periods eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55.

In ancient medical texts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause does not appear as a medical word in Traditional Chinese Medicine’s dictionary.  Menopause seems more a western concept and word. Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes that women’s menstrual cycle has a beginning and an end, which is nature’s way.

According to Nei Jing, the oldest and highest authorship of Traditional Chinese Medicine that compiled over 2000 years ago, women have seven-year cycles—like the phases of the progressed moons such as the new moon, half-moon and full moon. 

Women’s cycles start with the first seven years, during which a healthy young girl’s kidney Qi will manifest the growth of her hair and permanent teeth.  At the second seven year cycle, about 14 years of age, the Qi and life force reaches its peak, causing the arrival of puberty and the beginning of menstrual periods.

A woman blossoms through her fertile years, then at about age 35, the fifth of seven years, her Qi starts to decline, which is part of the natural aging process. No one can stop this process, but how steeply and how rapidly the aging curve declines is totally up to you.

Menopause typically occurs between the sixth and seventh cycles from 42 years old to 49 years old. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) believes 49 years old as a benchmark age for gauging the normalcy of menopause occurrence. It is commonly perceived as pre-mature menopause if a woman’s menstrual cycle ends before 45 years old. It is also considered as out of normalcy if a woman’s menstrual period does not end before her eighth 7-year cycle at 56.

So in another words, the actual age that menopause occurs to different women can vary widely but really depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to genetic reason, lifestyle, health condition, etc.

TCM believes women’s menstrual cycles ending as a natural part of a woman’s life, just like there is a beginning and an end for any cycle.