Menopause is the last menstrual period that occurs when the ovaries stop producing hormones that control the menstrual cycle. It is definitely diagnosed if you have not had your period for 12 consecutive months. For most women, this is a natural process that occurs between the ages of 40 and 58, although some experience premature menopause or menopause due to surgery or injury to the ovaries.
Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and you can treat them with symptomatic treatment .
Every woman experiences menopause in a different way. Some women may have very severe menopausal symptoms, while others hardly complain. However, there are some predictable symptoms of menopause that most women notice.
During the transition to menopause, you may start to notice some changes in your period. Lighter and / or less frequent periods are a normal change and an expected response to a decrease in hormone levels. (Your healthcare professional should evaluate your heaviest and / or more frequent periods.)
Hot flashes or hot flashes are a very common and unpleasant symptom of menopause. The clinical term for hot flashes is a vasomotor symptom . Sometimes it can also be associated with anxiety or heart palpitations. A typical hot flash lasts between one and five minutes, and most women experience it at least once a day.
Vaginal dryness with menopause occurs due to a lack of estrogens. Without a sufficient amount, the walls of the vagina lose volume and moisture, become thin, dry, and easily irritated. This can lead to painful intercourse, increased vaginal infections, and chronic vaginal discomfort.
Sleep disorders are often caused by hot flashes, insomnia, stress, or depression. Emotional symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression are also seen .
Weight gain is a common problem during menopause, and the loss of estrogen shifts the distribution of fat to the waistline. This type of weight gain is particularly detrimental to health and is associated with an increase in heart disease.
The signs and symptoms of menopause are caused by changes in ovarian function. There are three different ways your body can enter menopause:
- Natural menopause – This is the most common progression of menopause. All women will eventually stop changing their periods. This usually happens around the age of 52. However, menopause occurs between the ages of 40 and 58, which is completely normal.
- Premature menopause: This is menopause that occurs before age 40. Unlike natural menopause, premature menopause is considered abnormal. It is often associated with other autoimmune diseases and increases the risk of osteoporosis . If you are under 40 and think you are going through menopause, it is very important to discuss this with your doctor.
- Induced menopause: This type of menopause occurs when there is some damage to the ovaries, which is usually associated with medical procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Unlike natural menopause, which occurs gradually, induced menopause is usually abrupt, and the symptoms of menopause are often sudden and severe.
If the ovaries have not been surgically removed, menopause will not happen overnight. Instead, your ovaries gradually reduce the amount of hormones they make. This decline in ovarian function usually takes several years and is called perimenopause or transition to menopause .
Your ovaries don't slow down in a predictable way. In some months, ovarian hormone production may be close to normal, while in other months, hormone production may be far from normal. Menopause is irreversible. Once your ovaries stop making hormones, you will no longer have your periods.
If you have menstrual irregularities or other symptoms of menopause, tell your doctor. These could be signs of a different condition or the need to adjust your medications or treat existing medical conditions.
Your healthcare provider diagnoses menopause if you report that you have not had your period in 12 months. Because hormone levels change during menopause, there is no accurate and reliable blood test to diagnose it, although some may be done to rule out other conditions, such as thyroid disease.
Despite all the symptoms and changes in your body, menopause is not a disease that needs to be treated, it is just a normal part of aging. You can wait for symptoms to appear, but it may be helpful to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider, primary care physician, gynecologist, or menopausal specialist.
There are many options available to help ease the transition and improve menopausal symptoms. These range from mind and body practices such as yoga and meditation to hormone replacement therapy and other prescription medications that relieve certain symptoms. For example, for those who experience painful intercourse, there are options like Imvexxy to alleviate the symptom.
Menopause is the perfect time to take a look at your lifestyle. Follow the general principles of a healthy and balanced diet and regular physical activity. In addition to aerobic exercise, build muscles with strength training. You begin to lose lean body mass (muscle) at the age of 40. Ask your doctor if you should take vitamin D or calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis.
The age at which you approach menopause often coincides with many personal stressors. You may be taking your children to college, mourning the death of a parent, or worrying about your finances. Additional symptoms of menopause, including poor sleep and possible anxiety or depression, can certainly make things worse.
It is very important to take care of your mental health during menopause. Sometimes this can be accomplished with long walks or other stress relievers. But sometimes more is required. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor if you have a hard time dealing with your daily worries. Your mental health should be your number one priority.
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Menopause can be difficult to control. It is not a disease, but it still affects your body physically and mentally. Understanding the changes in your body and learning about coping strategies and treatment options can help you live very well during and after menopause.