Overview – Menopause

Overview – Menopause

Menopause is the phase in a woman’s reproductive cycle when she stops to menstruate. This is a stage that usually occurs when a woman stops having her period for at least a year. Most women tend to reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55; however, the age may vary according to their races. While menopause is a natural occurrence that does not qualify as a disease or a medical condition, it certainly has some uncomfortable symptoms. The traces of menopausal symptoms begin showing approximately four years before their last period. In some cases, some women experience menopausal symptoms even a decade before menopause finally occurs.

Premenopausal symptoms or perimenopause is a stage where the periods become irregular and the flow fluctuates from very light in case of a few women to excruciatingly heavy for others. This is usually a result of hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Since most processes in the body are regulated by the hormones, it takes a while to adapt to the change. These changes bring about menopausal symptoms including mood swings, sleep issues, and hot flashes. While every woman’s experience of menopause is different, a select few have severe symptoms that need medical attention.

As already stated, menopause first strikes most women around the mid-forties when the women’s bodies begin to make less of estrogen. Depleted levels of estrogen cause milder period flows that eventually stop. While for most women the coming of menopause is a happy event that alleviates them from the hassles of menstruation and contraception, for others it may be a moment of existential crisis that marks the end of their fertile selves. Apart from the psychological effects, menopause also have several physical discomforts. These include erratic periods, night sweats, flushing, anxiety, depression, weight gain, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. It is also accompanied by several significant lifestyle, physical, and emotional changes. Some of the common symptoms of menopause have been listed below.

Behavioral changes
Hormonal fluctuations cause severe mood swings and strenuous emotional experiences. Most women at the start of their menstrual cycle complain of being inexplicably irritable, angry, depressed, and anxious. Their moods may range from extreme lows to sudden highs all in a brief period. While this can be a traumatic experience for most women, those who indulge in relaxation therapies such as meditation, deep breathing, and regular physical exercise can swiftly overcome their emotional turmoil.

Vaginal atrophy
This is a condition that causes thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to constantly falling estrogen levels. Vaginal atrophy is believed to be the main cause of vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. This condition is also responsible for reduced libido.

Other symptoms
Other significant signs of menopause include difficulty focusing for a long period; memory issues; urinary incontinence; soreness of breasts; heart palpitations; UTI; dry eyes, skin, and mouth; frequent headaches; pain in the joints; hair loss; and reduced bone density.

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