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Doc Talk: Understanding menopause with Dr. Kristina McCain

A woman’s body continues to mature throughout her life, from her teenage years through her twenties and beyond. Each stage of life brings new joys, but change can be unsettling and even scary.

One stage that many women have questions about is menopause, the time when their menstrual cycle ceases. As an obstetrician and gynecologist with Women’s Health Specialists of Middle Tennessee, an affiliate of Saint Thomas Physician Services, Dr. Kristina McCain often answers these questions.

“Knowing the facts helps women understand what is going on with their bodies,” Dr. McCain said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there. Part of my role as a doctor is to make sure my patients are well-informed.”   

Dr. McCain shared a few important facts about menopause to help set the record straight:

  • Menopause occurs in stages. In peri-menopause, the quality and timing of a woman’s ovulation is waning. This stage may last anywhere from one to 12 years. During it, the timing of ovulation is unpredictable and women may still become pregnant. Menopause occurs when a woman has not had a period for a year. The time that it lasts varies.  
  • Once a woman has not had a period for a year, she is officially menopausal, which means that she no longer ovulates or produces estrogen and progesterone. 
  • Menopause most commonly occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.   
  • During late peri-menopause, women may experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleeping problems, thinning of bones, increased stress and vaginal changes. However, not every woman will experience any or all of these symptoms. 

Dr. McCain advises women with more questions to talk to their provider or seek other reputable sources of information.

“Menopause is different for every woman. It’s always helpful to know what’s going on inside of you, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.”

For more informatino, or to make an appointment with Dr. McCain in her Williamson County office, plase visit or call 615-565-6872.

For more information about Saint Thomas Health, please visit  

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