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Women today are living longer and more productive lives — and menopause is an inevitable stage in every woman’s life. Our menopause experts help you understand what you can expect in all stages of menopause and how to promote your optimal health.

Webinar: Introduction to Menopause

Dr. Wen Shen, co-director of the Women's Wellness & Healthy Aging Program, provides an overview of what to expect before, during, and after menopause, and how certain health conditions can be affected.


For consultations or referrals, please contact:

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a normal biological event that occurs in all women. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51 years old; however, this age varies and can occur between 40 and 60 years old. It is diagnosed by loss of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months.

The onset of menopause is affected by:

  • Genetics
  • Illness
  • Smoking
  • Surgical removal of ovaries
  • Medically induced menopause (such as chemotherapy for breast cancer)

Estrogen and progesterone have critical effects on the reproductive system, urinary function, bone and mineral metabolism, cardiovascular function and memory and cognition.  Lower levels of these hormones in the blood can produce unpleasant symptoms and can be treated in appropriate patients.

Symptoms of Menopause

Symptoms of menopause vary from woman to woman but will probably include any or a combination of the following:

  • Hot flashes
  • Libido or sexual health issues
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause or the "climacteric" is the phase that usually precedes the menopause and usually lasts three to five years.

Symptoms of Perimenopause

Perimenopause can cause symptoms that are due to changes in estrogen and progesterone production by a woman’s ovaries.  During this time a woman can experience the following symptoms:

  • Irregular menses
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido or sexual health issues (link to that page)
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats

Treatments for Menopause and Perimenopause

Treatments are available for these symptoms, but they are not for everyone and must be discussed individually with a provider in menopause health. These treatment options include:

  • Hormone therapy
  • Lower dose oral contraceptive pills
  • Life style changes
  • Phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen-like hormones)
  • Non-hormonal prescription medications

Treatments for women with artificially induced menopause

Sometimes, in the course of medical treatment, physicians may induce artificial menopause in a woman.  Gynecological cancers and autoimmune diseases are among those conditions for which treatment may involve artificially induced menopause.

Dr. Shen is an expert in treating those women as well as women who have menopausal symptoms superimposed on other chronic medical problems.  Dr. Shen works with a patient’s primary physician and will recommend non-hormonal therapies and possible alternative options to treat these women’s symptoms when possible.

Consultation for Menopause

Consultations take place at Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station.

  1. You will be asked for your complete medical history. You will also be given a gynecological exam, if needed.
  2. Dr. Shen will ask you about your symptoms; how often they occur, their severity and how you are currently managing them.
  3. Dr. Shen will discuss the many different parts of menopause and clarify which symptoms are related to menopause, and those that may be related to the natural process of aging. 
  4. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Shen will develop a treatment plan.  This plan may include:
    • Hormone therapy or non-hormonal therapies, like SSRI’s
    • Acupuncture
    • Other homeopathic remedies

      Dr. Shen will only prescribe those treatments that have been clinically tested and proven to work.
  5. There are patients who complain that menopause has affected their sexual health. Dr. Shen may refer to a psychiatrist who specializes in couples therapy or a sex therapist.

Menopausal women are at increased risk for osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Prevention and early detection of these conditions are essential.

Icon of menopause app

New Menopause App for Providers

Dr. Shen created a comprehensive menopause guide aimed at gynecologic care providers. The information in this app will help identify patients undergoing menopause and connect those patients with the right treatments and services to optimize their health.

Learn more about our guide.

smiling woman

Johns Hopkins Women's Wellness and Healthy Aging Program

The Johns Hopkins Women's Wellness and Healthy Aging Program focuses on personalized treatment of the whole woman with an understanding of medical conditions and healthy aging practices in her post reproductive years.

Learn more about our program.