Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when her menstrual period stops. This has nothing to do with diseases or any kind of sickness. It is just a natural occurrence. As I have said, it is not a disease but it can be accompanied by certain uncomfortable physical symptoms like hot flashes and sweating at nights.
How Does Menopause Manifest?
Menopause is a natural occurrence majorly dependent on age. As a woman grows older so do her ovaries become less and less productive. They gradually slow down and finally the woman’s child bearing ability comes to an end. A woman can also experience menopause as a result of some factors that have nothing to do with the process of aging. Such factors are surgeries to remove ovaries, exposure to pelvic radiation or going through chemotherapy.
At What Age Does Menopause Start?
There is no specific age. Some women have it as early as their 40 years of age while some women might not experience it until they turn 60. Women who smoke have a tendency to have menopause earlier on in life. The general believe is that if a woman misses her menstrual period for a straight 12 months then menopause has set come in earnest. Oh yes. The average age in the US is 51. However there have been instances of menopause starting in women as early as 30.
Menopause does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. The ovaries do not stop abruptly. It is the slow transition that is called Perimenopause. Unlike the menopausal stage, in perimenopausal stage, the woman can still get pregnant. She is still capable of giving birth to a baby only her menstrual period is no longer regular and unpredictable.
How Are Women Affected?
Women react differently to menopause. While some women have no trouble at all, it is very tough for others. Also different women handle it differently. Below are different symptoms a woman is likely to face while going through the menopausal stage.
1. Irregular Menstrual Periods
Periods may be shorter or longer, they may be heavier or lighter, bleeding may increase.
Note*: If your periods come with heavy bleeding or if they are closer than normal it is advised to see a doctor immediately.
2. Hot Flashes
This symptom is very common with women having menopause. Feeling hot, sweating, faces and necks turning red are all results of hot flashes. As a result of all these symptoms, you may even lose sleep. The intensity though varies from woman to woman. The duration is estimated to be between 30 seconds to as long as 15 minutes.
Note*: You can make things easier for yourself by observing the following.
- Dress lightly
- Find something to cool you down (a fan can come handy)
- Avoid spicy food
- Exercise regularly.
- Consult a doctor if you are feeling very uncomfortable.
Issues With Sexual Performance
Having sex during menopause can be a real challenge to a woman. Because of the reduction in the level of the female hormone estrogen, you might experience vaginal dryness. Other symptoms like vaginal irritation and itching may appear. These definitely will make having sexual intercourse very uncomfortable. Further sexual issues may include loss of sex drive, stress, depression and loss of sexual feeling altogether.
Note*: The use of lubricants can ease the pain if you have vaginal dryness. If you experience stress and/or depression, then it is a must to immediately seek a doctor’s attention.
This may seem strange to you but strange things happen when the body is deficient in certain things that it needs. We have been mentioning hormonal changes and the reduction of estrogen right? Well this one is just another by product.
According to a journal published in ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, there is an increase of cognitive problems when women go through the menopausal period.
Weight Gain And Slow Metabolism
Women in this stage tend to put on weight. This may be attributed to the slowing down of metabolism.
These are not the whole list of symptoms. A deeper research will definitely turn up more.
Other Things To Watch Out For
Women going through menopause are very vulnerable to certain health issues due to the hormonal changes they experience during this period.
Cardiovascular Disease And Heart Problems.
The reduction in estrogen levels exposes a woman to the risk of heart diseases and other cardiovascular illnesses. We cannot stress enough the importance of talking to a doctor concerning this. Regular exercises will go a long way into helping. Watch what you eat! Cholesterol in this case will never be your friend!
Risk Of Osteoporosis
This is also due to hormonal imbalance. The bones become brittle. The danger of causing damages and fractures to the hip, spine or elsewhere in the body is increased. Be careful about your movements. Avoid making sudden moves as much as possible.
Can The Symptoms Of Menopause Be Treated?
When you are going through the process of menopause, the first thing you want to do is talk to your doctor before you do anything else. A good doctor should know your health history and thus recommend the best ways to get relief accordingly.
There are however certain methods by which the symptoms of menopause can be treated.
Hormone Replacement Therapy.
You can find different prescription products which are FDA approved that can be used to treat symptoms like hot flashes as well as vaginal problems. Due to the higher risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases in menopausal women, it is recommended to use the smallest possible dose for the shortest possible period.
Alternative Methods Of Treatment
In our modern times when medical science has advanced drastically, you may come across the alternatives to the established methods of treatment. These methods include using the power of herbs and herbal extracts. Red clover for instance and black cohosh are ingredients of the most popular herbal medications used by women in their menopausal stage.
As you have seen and read, menopause is a natural phenomenon which every woman should go through. The manifestation of the symptoms differs from woman to woman. Try to have a positive mind set about it in order to better endure the uncomfortable experiences that come with it. Always seek and expert opinion on anything that raises concern for you.