Menopause as Process or Event: The Creation of Definitions in Biomedicine

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An historical analysis is the more usual approach to understanding the production of medical knowledge, but in this essay I will examine the anatomy of a construct which is current. The focus is menopause. While not denying the existence of an underlying biological reality in which women age, lose their fertility and no longer menstruate, menopause is a social construct and not a separate, independent, biological entity. More accurately, there is a multiplicity of constructs parading under the same label: the feminist versions of menopause have little in common with the medical (Kaufert 1982). It is with the medical construction of menopause that the following discussion is concerned.