Menopause is the permanent cessation of reproductive fertility some time before the end of the natural lifespan. The term was originally used to describe this reproductive change in human females, where the end of fertility was traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of menstruation or "menses". The word "menopause" literally means the "end of monthly cycles" from the Greek words pausis (cessation) and the word root men (month).
The meaning of the word menopause has in more recent times been expanded to indicate the permanent discontinuation of female fertility in many other species, such as some matrilineal whales, despite the fact that such animals experience no menstrual cycles.
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