An Evolutionary Perspective on the Climacteric and Menopause : Menopause

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An Evolutionary Perspective on the Climacteric and Menopause

Naftolin, Frederick*; Whitten, Patricia; Keefe, David*

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There appears to be no specific adaptive evolutionary response to estrogen deficiency in postreproductive women. On the contrary, many of the physiological responses to the menopause resemble those seen in the reproductive years, especially during the puerperium. However, responses that are positive adaptations for the puerperium such as calcium and lipid mobilization, increased vigilance and lack of REM sleep, decreased vascular elasticity, and radiation of heat may lead to adverse outcomes during the menopause. We anticipate that improved understanding of the physiological basis of the adverse responses to ovarian failure in the post reproductive woman should furnish more rational educational, preventative, and therapeutic strategies for women during the climacteric/menopause.

©1994The North American Menopause Society

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