What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a normal condition that all women experience as they age. The term "menopause" can describe as any of the changes a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period.
What Causes Menopause?
A woman is born with a finite number of eggs, which are stored in the ovaries. The ovaries also make the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control menstruation and ovulation. Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops.
Menopause is considered a normal part of aging when it happens after the age of 40. But some women can go through menopause early, either as a result of surgery, such as hysterectomy, or damage to the ovaries, such as from chemotherapy. Menopause that happens before 40, regardless of the cause, is called premature menopause.
How Does Natural Menopause Happen?
Natural menopause is not brought on by any type of medical or surgical treatment. The process is gradual and has three stages:
i.Perimenopause. This typically begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually make less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen quickens. At this stage, many women have menopause symptoms.
ii.Menopause. This is the point when it is been a year since a woman last had her last menstrual period. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
iii.Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes ease for most women. But health risks related to the loss of estrogen rise as the woman ages.
What Conditions Cause Premature Menopause?
Premature menopause can be the result of genetics, autoimmune disorders, or medical procedures. Other conditions that may cause early menopause include:
Premature ovarian failure. Normally, the ovaries make both estrogen and progesterone. Changes in the levels of these two hormones happen when the ovaries, for unknown reasons, prematurely stop releasing eggs. When this happens before the age of 40, it is called premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature ovarian failure is not always permanent.
Induced menopause. "Induced" menopause happens when the ovaries are surgically removed for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer or endometriosis. Induced menopause can also result from damage to the ovaries caused by radiation or chemotherapy.
Most women approaching menopause will have hot flashes, a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the upper body, often with blushing and some sweating. The severity of hot flashes varies from mild in most women to severe in others.
Other common symptoms around the time of menopause include:
a.Irregular or skipped periods
i.Joint and muscle aches and pains
j.Changes in libido (sex drive)
l.Bladder control problems
Not all women get all of these symptoms.
How Do I Know When I am Going Through Menopause?
Either you will suspect the approach of menopause on your own, or your doctor will, based on symptoms you have told her about. To help figure it out, your doctor can do a certain blood test.
It also helps if you keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Your menstrual pattern will be an added clue to your doctor about whether you are premenopausal.
What Long-Term Health Problems Are Tied to Menopause?
The loss of estrogen linked with menopause has been tied to a number of health problems that become more common as women age.
After menopause, women are more likely to have:
iii.A poorly working bladder and bowel
iv.Greater risk of Alzheimers disease
v.Poor skin elasticity (increased wrinkling)
vi.Poor muscle power and tone
Some weakening in vision, such as from cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) and macular degeneration (breakdown of the tiny spot in the center of the retinat
i. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy was a widely recommended treatment for menopausal symptoms as well as in the prevention of osteoporosis and heart disease. What changed? What is hormone therapy? What types are available and what are their risks?
ii. Alternative Treatments
Supplements, herbs and botanicals like black cohosh, evening primrose oil, and flaxseed are thought to relieve menopausal symptoms. Are they safe? What are the warning signs a product may not be legitimate?
iii. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh, also known as black snakeroot or bugbane, is a medicinal root. It is used to treat womens hormone-related symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms.
iv. Wild Yam and Progesterone Creams
Wild yam and progesterone creams are available without a prescription and are marketed for relieving perimenopausal symptoms caused by "estrogen dominance."
v. Soy for Menopause Symptoms
Soy is high in isoflavones. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in plants that work like estrogens.