The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it.

DORIS DAY

Menopause

The Grandmother Hypothesis


There’s a puzzle in biology: why have human women evolved to have such a long time period (nearly half their lifespan) between the menopause and their death? Biologically, it would make much more sense for them to reproduce later or to die earlier.
 
Elsewhere in the animal kingdom (including the other primates), reproductive potential simply tails off, and females produce fewer young as they age.

One explanation for this is the 'mother hypothesis', which suggests that a mother will do better in the genetic stakes by avoiding the risks associated with childbirth and additional child-rearing and instead concentrate on raising the kids she already has. However, a better answer may lie in the 'grandmother hypothesis'. This suggests that a generous post-reproductive life span makes sense if a grandmother improves the survival and reproduction of her grandchildren, and therefore ensures continuation of her own genes.
 
Sure enough, it seems that children cared for by a grandmother have half the risk of injury of those cared for by other relatives, or even the child's own mother. Furthermore, fieldwork by anthropologists has shown that in hunter-gatherer societies, men provide only a limited amount of food for their families; post-menopausal women collecting plants were of much more importance to the family's nutrition.

CELIA RIVENBARK

I'm what is known as perimenopausal. 'Peri', some of you may know, is a Latin prefix meaning 'SHUT YOUR FLIPPIN' PIE HOLE'.

Blue whales have a clear-cut menopause followed by many more years of life.

Egg-stra Reserves


As a foetus, a girl has millions more eggs than she will ever need, but she starts shedding them even before she is born and by the time she enters puberty only about 400,000 remain. During her reproductive years a mere 400 will be released during ovulation. And at menopause there are typically still about 1,100 eggs left. Exactly why this residual supply is unavailable for reproduction remains a mystery.
 
The biggest predictor of a woman's likely age at menopause is how old other females in her family were when they went through it, though smokers are 59% more likely to go through menopause before age 45 than non-smokers.

The first IVF drugs came from the urine of post-menopausal nuns.

The word 'menopause' literally means 'the end of monthly cycles'.

The medical term for night sweats, often experienced during the menopause, is nocturnal hyperhidrosis.

The average age for women to reach the menopause in the UK is 51.

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