Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her period stops, and most women will experience some symptoms. Click through to find out if you have the 6 menopausal symptoms and how to transit safely.
1. What Is Menopause?
The menopause refers to the time in every woman’s life when your periods stop permanently and your ovaries lose their reproductive function.
2. What Causes Menopause?
Menopause can result from:
● Natural decline of reproductive hormones. As you age, your ovaries start making less oestrogen and progesterone, which is the leading cause of menopause.
● Chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These cancer therapies can induce certain symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
● Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy surgery that removes both your uterus and your ovaries can cause immediate menopause, without any transitional phase.
3. When Does Menopause Start?
Menopause can be confirmed after a woman has missed her periods for 12 straight months, without other obvious causes. Menopause typically occurs between 49 and 52 years of age. A few women start menopause as young as 40, and a very small percentage as late as 60.
4. Perimenopause – Before Menopause
Perimenopause is the menopausal transition leading up to a woman’s last period. During perimenopause, women still have the possibility to get pregnant because her ovaries are still working and she still may ovulate, though not always monthly.
5. Menopause Symptom: Irregular Periods
Your periods may get shorter or longer, heavier or lighter, with more or less time between periods. Such changes are normal, but make sure to see a doctor if your periods come very close together or if you have heavy bleeding or spotting.
6. Menopause Symptoms: Hot Flushes
A hot flush is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, lasting between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Red blotches may appear on your chest, back, and arms. Heavy sweating and cold shivering can follow.
Dressing less, using a fan, getting regular exercise, avoiding spicy foods and heat may help you reduce hot flushes.
7. Menopause Symptoms: Sleep Issues
Night-time hot flushes can make it difficult for you to sleep. Try these sleep tips:
● Use a fan when you sleep
● Avoid heavy bedding
● Wear nightclothes of light cottons
● Keep a damp cloth nearby in case you wake up feeling hot and sweaty
8. Menopause Symptom: Love Life Problems
Vaginal dryness from less oestrogen can cause discomfort and slight bleeding during intercourse. Try using a water-soluble lubricant. Also, decreased sensation may reduce your libido.
Sexually transmitted diseases don’t end with menopause.
9. Menopause Symptom: Urinary Incontinence
As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden urges to urinate, followed by the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or lifting. You may have urinary tract infections more often.
10. Menopause Symptom: Bone Loss
No pain is usually associated with bone loss. However, bone loss can cause osteoporosis, a condition that increases the risk of bone fractures.
11. How To Diagnose Menopause?
Symptoms of menopause are usually enough to tell most women that they’ve started the menopausal transition. But under certain circumstances, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check your level of oestrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
12. Managing Severe Symptoms
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment to reduce menopausal symptoms. Other treatments include low-dose birth control pills if you’re perimenopausal; antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, or other medications to help with hot flushes; and vaginal oestrogen cream.
13. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Oestrogen therapy can relieve menopausal hot flashes and vaginal symptoms. The FDA recommends the lowest dose for the shortest time because long-term use of hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer.
14. Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormone therapy refers to certain FDA-approved prescription drugs or custom-compounded hormones derived from plants to match each patient. Custom-compounded bioidentical hormones aren’t FDA approved.
15. Alternative Menopause Treatments
According to the National Institute of Health, it hasn’t been confirmed that alternative treatments, such as black cohosh, dong quai, red clover, and soy, could help relieve menopausal symptoms. Talk with your doctor about any supplements you take so they can check on drug interactions.
16. Menopause Health Risks
With menopause comes a greater chance of heart disease (the No.1 cause of death for U.S. women) and osteoporosis (thinning bones). So, get prepared to face all the health risks if you haven’t already.
17. Menopause: Staying Healthy
The key to transit menopause safely is to have a healthy lifestyle – upgrade your diet, physical activity, and stress management skills. Make appointments for routine screenings, and get a check-up to measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
18. Active Menopause Is A Must
Menopause is the perfect time to weave more activity into your life. That includes aerobic exercise for your heart and weight-bearing exercise for your bones – both of which may help ward off weight gain and provide a mood boost.
19. Menopause: A New Era Starts
Instead of looking back mournfully, you may use menopause as a time to redefine yourself with positive thoughts and do what brings you pleasure.