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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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The physiological period preceding the climacteric, during which occurs the regression of ovarian function, up to the menopause, the permanent cessation of the menstrual life. Since in the united states the age of the menopause ranges between 48 and 55 years, the premenopause refers in general to middle-aged women. (best & taylor's physiological basis of medical practice, 12th ed, p872)