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Every woman goes through several changes in the way her body functions, which marks different stages in her life. With puberty, starts the menstrual cycle, where certain hormones control the monthly release of the egg and preparation for pregnancy. The termination of menstruation and fertility of women is known as menopause, and occurs 12 months after your last menstrual period, when you are in your 40s or 50s. Some women can experience menopause before their 40s, and the condition is known as premature menopause.
Menopause can be characterized by physical and emotional changes. Approaching the time of your menopause (perimenopause), you may experience irregular menses, dryness of the vagina, sagging of the breasts, dry skin, thinning hair, slow metabolism, weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, problems with sleeping, and mood changes.
Menopause is a natural process that takes place in every woman’s like as you reach your early 40s or 50’s. The production of the hormones by your ovaries to regulate your menstrual cycle, namely oestrogen and progesterone, start to decrease. Eventually, your ovaries will stop producing eggs. This will make you experience changes in your menstrual pattern and bring an end to your periods.
There are some factors that can induce menopause. These include the following:
Some of the possible complications associated with menopause include the following:
Your doctor can identify your transition to menopause with your signs and symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order blood tests to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestrogen (oestradiol), as a decrease in the level of these hormones can project menopause.
Menopause itself needs no treatment, but treatment may be required to control its signs and symptoms. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits and may recommend any of the following depending on your condition.
Hormone replacement therapy: Your doctor may recommend treatment with hormones including oestrogen and/or progestin for your hot flashes and bone loss. It may also help prevent cardiovascular problems if started within five years of menopause.
Vagina oestrogen: Small doses of oestrogen in the form of cream, pills, or rings can help you manage vaginal dryness, urinary symptoms and discomfort during intercourse.
Antidepressants: Low-dose antidepressants can help you manage hot flashes when hormone replacement therapy is not advisable for you, and will also help improve your mood.
Medication treatment: You may also be prescribed medications to reduce your bone loss and risk for fractures.
Some of these lifestyle remedies can also help you reduce or prevent the symptoms of menopause.
Menopause is an unavoidable phase in every woman’s life. Its signs and symptoms can be often disturbing, but it is important to understand your body and learn ways to cope with your difficulties. There are various options available to successfully manage your distress, and your doctor will be the right person to guide you through.