Menopause will affect every woman who lives an average life span, and for many of these women, the chronic hypoestrogenic state will affect the quality of life during her last 30 years, comprising more than one-third of her life span. Many questions surround the phenomenon of menopause: What causes it? Is it strictly the ovary that determines the age at menopause? Are the hypothalamus and other brain centers also involved? Are there reliable markers of impending menopause? How can we predict who will experience severe health problems and conditions associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis, hot flashes, cardiovascular disease, genitourinary conditions, and decline in cognitive function? Why do some women suffer from these health problems more than others? Exactly how is the process of menopause involved in the increased risk for these health problems and conditions? Knowing these answers is likely to lead to better interventions and treatments that will delay, attenuate, or even prevent altogether the decline in quality of life that accompanies menopause. canadian family pharmacy com
Research is the only way to answer these questions and to deepen our understanding so that we can begin to address the challenges presented by menopause. The amount and types of research that can be conducted directly in women are extremely limited for ethical, practical, and financial reasons. Therefore, we must turn to animal models to shed light on the biology of menopause. Animal species that experience a similar menopausal process at a stage of their life history comparable to that in women present advantages because of the ability to utilize tighter control of genetic constitution and variation in experimental populations and to perform invasive research under controlled experimental conditions.