The menopause isn't a disease, despite what the drug companies would like us to believe. Instead, it's a necessary rite of passage for every woman who reaches the end of her reproductive years.
But while the physiological process is the same for every woman, there are many varying experiences of the menopause, and the extent to which a woman 'sails' through this life transition appears to be, to a large extent, dependent on how she has lived her life, nutritionally and emotionally, up to then.
From the age of 40 or so, there's a slowing of the process that causes ovulation every month. The two major hormonal changes during menopause are a decrease in estrogen and the increase in FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone), which causes the egg to be released.
Although the ovaries stop producing estrogen at menopause, they continue to produce androgen, which can be converted into a form of estrogen called estrone.
The conversion of androgen into estrogen takes place in fat. The more fat a woman has, the more estrogen she will continue to produce after menopause.
Since androgens can themselves act as weak estrogens, it is clear that the body of the menopausal woman is well equipped to deal with the hormonal changes that the ovaries are going through.
Chronic stress over a long period of time, however, can lead to adrenal depletion and is one possible cause of a problematic menopause.