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What is Menopause – Essential Things to Know

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Menopause

Many women aren’t familiar with the symptoms of the natural decline in their reproductive hormones, also known as menopause. If you can relate, you might want to use a Menopause age calculator to assess how long the transition to menopause will last, starting when you begin your perimenopause.

Menopause is a natural process that can occur in some women in their early 40s or late 50s. On rare occasions, some women might start their menopause before they reach their 40s.

Contrary to the common misconception, menopause isn’t something that happens overnight – instead – it is a gradual process, which is also referred to as the perimenopause transition.

What is Perimenopause?

The perimenopause period refers to the period around menopause, the transition of which varies from one woman to another. Typically, this transition starts about four years before a woman experiences her last period.

Some women might even experience perimenopause ten years before their actual menopause. The typical characteristics of perimenopause include irregular menstrual periods, in which the periods might skip a few months, return for several months, and restart the regular period cycle.

Some women might experience a heavier menstrual flow, whereas others might experience a lighter menstrual flow.

What is the Cause of Menopause?

The underlying cause of menopause is a decline in a woman’s reproductive hormones. During menopause, the function of the ovaries stops, which leads to no chance of getting pregnant.

The female reproductive gland comprises ovaries that are located in the pelvis, with each ovary positioned on each side of the pelvis. The ovaries produce estrogen and eggs. During the monthly menstrual cycle, an egg is released at the ovary.

The egg travels from the ovary into the uterus – the aging of the ovaries leads to a decline in the reproductive hormones. Eventually, this aspect causes the loss of active ovarian follicles that enable menstruation and fertility.

Some Other Causes of Menopause

Sometimes, the surgical removal of the ovaries can lead to menopause too. Menopause can be the result of injury too. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can induce menopause as well. The premature ovarian condition can lead to menopause as well.

A premature ovarian condition is typically characterized by an early onset of menopause – before the female reaches her 40s. The occurrence of a premature ovarian condition might be induced by some autoimmune disease or one’s genetic makeup.

Common Signs of Menopause

One of the most common signs of menopause includes vaginal dryness and itching. Vaginal dryness typically results from the thinning of the vaginal lining. Subsequently, the estrogen level of females drops too.

Other common signs of menopause include fatigue, frequent mood swings, insomnia, weight gain, hair loss, hair thinning, decreased libido, and sore breasts.

While some women might experience thinning hair, there can also be a potential increase in hair growth on some body parts, including the face, neck, chest, and back.

It is equally common to experience a hot flash, which refers to a sudden flash of warmth that spreads throughout the body but is more pronounced in the chest and head. Like hot flashes, women going through menopause might also experience night sweats.

The decrease in estrogen level might as well result in the thinning of the urethra lining, which can cause a dryness and itching sensation. Subsequently, it can lead to UTI or induce the frequent urge to urinate.

Menopause Treatment

While no single test could help women diagnose menopause, one’s physical healthcare provider might carry out a test to measure the hormone level in the blood.

Women who are 45 years – or younger – might want to talk to their doctor if they are experiencing menopause symptoms.

When it comes to menopause treatment, hormone therapy is effective for women who are younger than 60 years. Hormone therapy can help with managing some symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. 

Your doctor might as well administer some medicines to treat some other menopause symptoms, such as hair thinning, vaginal dryness, and restlessness. The typical meds for hair thinning include topical minoxidil, whereas insomnia might be treated with melatonin supplements.

Non-hormonal lubricants and moisturizers are useful for treating vaginal dryness. Women with menopause will need to improve their lifestyle habits by eating healthier and opting for the regular exercise of 20-30 minutes a day.

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