Menopause historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Rahmah Al-Edresi, M.D.[2]


In 1821, a French physician named the cessation of the menstrual cycle as a term of menopause.The medical interest in menopause started in the mid-19th century, and was treated by estrogen replacement therapy in the 1970s. The Grandmother hypothesis considers that the menopause may have been selected for in human evolution. Unlike humans, other mammals rarely experience menopause, but some of the other few mammal species that experience menstrual cycles, such as rhesus monkeys and some cetaceans.

Historical Perspective

The possible significance of menopause in human evolution

  • The Grandmother hypothesis considers that the menopause may have been selected for in human evolution, because later life infertility could have conferred an evolutionary advantage by allowing older women to spend more time helping with the survival of their existing children and grandchildren.

Menopause in other species


  1. Singh A, Kaur S, Walia I (2002). "A historical perspective on menopause and menopausal age". Bull Indian Inst Hist Med Hyderabad. 32 (2): 121–35. PMID 15981376.
  2. Walker ML (1995). "Menopause in female rhesus monkeys". Am J Primatol. 35: 59–71.
  3. McAuliffe K, Whitehead H (2005). "Eusociality, menopause and information in matrilineal whales". Trends Ecol Evolution. 20: 650.
  4. Walker ML, Herndon JG (2008). "Menopause in nonhuman primates?". Biol Reprod. 79 (3): 398–406. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.108.068536. PMC 2553520. PMID 18495681.

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