The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Menopause Society designated October as World Menopause Month and October 18 was also dubbed as World Menopause Day.
The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
Stages of Menopause
There are three stages of Menopause, these are the following:
This stage normally starts a few years before menopause, when your ovaries begin to produce less estrogen. Perimenopause lasts until menopause when your ovaries cease to produce eggs. Estrogen levels diminish quicker in the latter 1 to 2 years of this stage. Menopause symptoms affect a large number of women. Perimenopause is the period preceding menopause during which a woman may begin to detect changes. In their early to mid-forties, most women begin to experience the menopause transition of perimenopause.
Menopause is a stage of life in which you no longer get your monthly period. It’s a natural component of the aging process and signifies the end of your reproductive years. Menopause normally occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. Women who have their ovaries surgically removed, on the other hand, experienced “sudden” surgical menopause.
The period following menopause is known as post-menopause. The average age of women who have gone through menopause is 51 years old. Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms usually subside. However, as you get older, the health concerns associated with estrogen deficiency rise. Women after menopause are more prone to heart disease and osteoporosis. During this time, it is critical to maintain a nutritious diet, stay active, and receive enough calcium for maximum bone health.
Understanding the Menopausal Transition
Menopause occurs 12 months following a woman’s final menstrual period. The menopausal transition, also known as perimenopause, occurs in the years prior up to menopause, when women may experience changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms.
Why does menopause happen?
The reproductive cycle slows and eventually stops as you become older. Since puberty, this cycle has been running nonstop. When menopause approaches, the ovaries produce less estrogen. Your menstrual cycle (period) begins to shift as a result of this drop. It may grow irregular before coming to a stop. Physical changes can also occur as your body adjusts to new situations.
At what age does a woman begin menopause? At what age do periods stop?
Menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55. It normally lasts seven years, although it can last up to fourteen years. The length of time it takes can be determined by lifestyle factors such as smoking, the age at which it begins, and race and ethnicity. The body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones produced by the ovaries, varies dramatically during perimenopause.
What does it feel like to go through menopause?
Menopausal affects each woman uniquely and in various ways. The body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily. You may experience changes in your bone or heart health, your body shape, and composition, or your physical function.
What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?
Many areas of a woman’s body need estrogen. As estrogen levels drop, you may experience a variety of symptoms. You may encounter the following signs and symptoms in the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause):
This could be the first thing you notice. It’s possible that your periods have become irregular. They can be shorter or longer in duration. It’s possible that you’ll bleed more or less than normal. These are all typical changes, but consult your doctor if:
• Your periods are very close together.
• You have significant bleeding and spotting.
• Your menstrual cycle lasts more than a week.
• Your periods resume after a year of no bleeding.
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Hot flashes are common in women and can linger for several years after menopause. They could be linked to fluctuating estrogen levels. A hot flash is a sudden sensation of heat in the upper or entire body. The skin on your face and neck may appear flushed. Red spots on your chest, back, and arms are possible. Heavy perspiration and chilly shivers may occur as a result. Hot flashes might be minor or severe enough to cause you to wake up (called night sweats). The majority of hot flashes last between 30 seconds and ten minutes. They can occur several times every hour, a few times per day, or only once or twice per week.
Incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Urine may flow during exercise, sneezing, or laughing, or you may experience a sudden urge to urinate. Seeing a doctor is the first step in managing incontinence. Bladder infections also can occur in their forties and fifties.
Some women struggle to get a good night’s sleep when they approach middle age. Perhaps you find it difficult to fall asleep or that you wake up too early. You may be awoken by night sweats. You might have problems falling back to sleep if you wake up throughout the night.
Depression, anxiety, and low mood are all frequent symptoms of menopause. It’s common to have periods of anger and weeping fits. These problems can be caused by hormonal fluctuations and sleep disruptions. A person’s feelings regarding menopause may also play a role. Depression during menopause might be caused by worries about poor libido or the end of fertility. While anger and exhaustion are typical during menopause, they are not always indicative of depression.
Vaginal health and sexuality
After menopause, the vagina may become drier, which can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
Around the time of menopause, you may feel moodier or irritable. Scientists are baffled as to why this occurs. These mood swings could be caused by stress, family changes such as growing children or elderly parents, a history of depression, or simply being exhausted.
Your physique appears to be different
It’s possible that your waist will expand. It’s possible that you’ll lose muscle and acquire fat. It’s possible that your skin will thin or sag. You may experience memory issues, as well as stiff and achy joints and muscles. Researchers are looking into these shifts and how they relate to hormones and aging.
Estrogen levels begin to diminish as women approach the end of the reproductive stage. This lowers the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
What Conditions Cause Premature Menopause?
Your genes, some immune system disorders, or medical procedures can cause premature menopause. Other causes include:
Naturally declining reproductive hormones.
As you approach your late 30s, your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone — the hormones that regulate menstruation — and your fertility declines. In your 40s, your menstrual periods may become longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent, until eventually — on average, by age 51 — your ovaries stop releasing eggs, and you have no more periods.
This happens when your doctor removes your ovaries for medical reasons such as uterine cancer or endometriosis. It can also happen if your ovaries are damaged by radiation or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
These cancer treatments can trigger menopause, resulting in symptoms including hot flashes during or immediately after treatment. Because the stop of menstruation (and fertility) is not necessarily permanent after chemotherapy, birth control may still be needed. When radiation is directed at the ovaries, it has an effect on ovarian function. Radiation therapy to other parts of the body, such as breast tissue or the head and neck, won’t affect menopause.
Primary ovarian insufficiency
The failure of your ovaries to produce normal amounts of reproductive hormones (primary ovarian insufficiency), which can be caused by hereditary factors or autoimmune disease, can cause premature menopause. However, in many cases, there is no known explanation for premature menopause. Hormone therapy is usually prescribed for these women until they reach menopause naturally, in order to protect their brains, hearts, and bones.
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Certain medical issues become more likely after menopause. The loss of estrogen linked with menopause is tied to a number of health problems as women get older. After menopause, women are more likely to have:
The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that, while a decrease in estrogen due to menopause may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, taking hormone therapy will not reduce this risk.
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After menopause, some kinds of breast cancer are more likely to occur. Breast cancer is not caused by menopause, but the hormonal changes that accompany it appears to increase the risk.
Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
Your risk of cardiovascular disease rises when your estrogen levels fall. In both men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death. As a result, it’s critical to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and keep a healthy weight. Inquire with your doctor about ways to safeguard your heart, such as lowering your cholesterol or lowering your blood pressure if it’s too high.
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Bones become brittle and weak as a result of this illness, increasing the risk of fractures. You may lose bone density at a high rate during the first few years after menopause, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Fractures of the spine, hips, and wrists are especially common in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
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You may have frequent, abrupt, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or loss of urine with coughing, laughing, or raising as the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose suppleness (stress incontinence). Urinary tract infections may become more common. Using a topical vaginal estrogen and doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles may help alleviate incontinence symptoms. Hormone therapy may potentially be a useful therapeutic option for urine incontinence caused by menopausal urinary tract and vaginal alterations.
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Because metabolism slows throughout the menopausal transition and the following menopause, many women gain weight.
To maintain your present weight, you may need to eat less and exercise more.
Vaginal dryness from decreased moisture production and loss of elasticity might cause discomfort and minor bleeding during sexual intercourse. Additionally, decreased sensation may lessen your desire to engage in sexual activities (libido). Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants based on water may be beneficial. Many women benefit from the use of local vaginal estrogen medication, which is available as a vaginal cream, pill, or ring if a vaginal lubricant isn’t enough.
Menopause’s sexual changes, such as vaginal dryness and a lack of sex drive, can be difficult to manage. You may also discover that you don’t enjoy sex as much as before and have difficulty attaining climax. Regular sexual activity, as long as it isn’t painful, can help keep your vagina healthy by increasing blood flow. You can’t get pregnant since your ovaries have ceased producing eggs once you’ve reached menopause. You can, however, contract a sexually transmitted disease. If you’re not in a committed relationship, use safer sex techniques.
How does menopause affect women at work?
Menopause is a normal part of every woman’s life, but it isn’t always a pleasant experience. Many women are unprepared for menopause, let alone handling it on the job, due to a lack of knowledge surrounding the topic of menopause. As a result, menopausal symptoms can have a substantial impact on a person’s professional and business life. We encourage you to seek assistance with the changes that are occurring in your life as you approach middle age. Seek medical help and advice from their doctors. Talk to someone who provides affordable and great health care for you and your family.