What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the end of the menstrual cycle for a woman. Menopause also constitutes all the changes that occur leading up to the stoppage of menstruation. Menopause marks the end of reproductive years.
Why Does Menopause Occur?
Women are born with a specific amount of eggs in their ovaries. The ovaries are responsible for releasing one egg every month(ovulation) and various hormones like estrogen and progesterone. When the egg is fertilized, it is released from the body through menstruation. When the ovaries stop releasing eggs every month, menopause occurs. It is a regular part of aging when it occurs after 40 years. If it happens before 40, it is called premature menopause, which occurs due to surgeries like hysterectomy or chemotherapy.
Signs And Symptoms Of Menopause
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should consider menopause as the driving factor.
First Signs Of Menopause:
The women nearing menopause have hot flashes, which are sudden unbearable feelings of warmth in the upper body, often accompanied by sweating and blushing.
You might also notice the following symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Dry vagina
- Sore and tender breasts
- Emotional instability
- Dry skin, mouth, and eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Arthritis and myalgias
- Weight gain
- Loss of hair
- Changes in sex drive
The symptoms might suggest to you that you are nearing menopause. You can keep a chart of your periods as they become irregular. The symptoms and the period pattern will be clues for your doctor to diagnose menopause.
The doctor might run some extra investigations, including:
- FSH count – It increases near menopause
- Estradiol – the amount of estrogen produced by ovaries
- Thyroid hormones – rule out menopause-like symptoms due to thyroid gland pathology
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone – measures the reserves of egg in ovaries
Menopause is a natural phenomenon for which no treatment is required, but if it is causing problems for you, medications and lifestyle changes can be implemented.
Pharmaceutical companies and biologic CDMO provide a variety of drugs. For menopause following drug therapies can be opted:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Topical Hormone Therapy
- Non Hormonal Medications
- Osteoporosis medications
- During hot flashes, drink plenty of water and sit near fans.
- Use an over-the-counter vaginal lubricator to combat dryness.
- Work out regularly to prevent insomnia and cardiac diseases.
- Strengthen the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Maintain healthy body weight.
- Practice yoga and deep breathing for relaxation.
Menopause is linked with the loss of estrogen. Hence, some health problems might occur.
- Cardiac diseases
- Bladder and bowel irregularities
- Risk of Alzheimer’s
- Skin wrinkles
- Decreased muscle tone and power
- Visual disturbances
Sexual changes like dry vagina and altered sexual drive that come with menopause are difficult to manage. You might have trouble in orgasm and might not enjoy sex altogether. Regular sexual activity helps in promoting vaginal health by increasing blood flow.
Since the ovary has stopped sending out eggs, you can’t get pregnant after menopause.