Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life cycle just like puberty.
‘Menopause’ is a medical term which indicates having no menstruation for one year. One can claim to have attained menopause only after it has been a year since the last period. This means there has not been any bleeding for 12 consecutive months.
The transitional phase from having regular menstrual cycles to no menstrual periods at all is known as perimenopause
Cause of Menopause
Menopause occurs due to the decline in the function of the ovaries and due to the decrease in the production of female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This decline occurs as the woman ages.
Menopause brings about several changes in the body. It gives rise to few symptoms which differ from person to person. Some women are asymptomatic while some are symptomatic.
Every woman shall experience menopause in her own way
Some of the menopause symptoms experienced are hot flashes (intense feeling of warmth which may last a few seconds or several minutes); sleep problems; weight gain; mood changes; vaginal dryness; headache, hair loss and memory problems. Some of the symptoms may last for months or years.
Women past a certain age experience menopause
The age to attain menopause varies but it generally occurs in the 40s to early 50s. The average age of onset of menopause is 51 years but it is observed that majority of women attain menopause somewhere between ages 45 to 55. The initial stages of declining of ovary function can commence years before in some women while, few may continue to have menstrual cycles till their late 50s.
Menopause may increase your risk for certain conditions like osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) or heart diseases which is due to the lowered production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Post menopause, exercise and lifestyle modifications may help in slowing the bone loss and arresting weight gain.
Menopause before the age of 40 years is considered as early menopause
Menopause may start prematurely if the ovaries cease to function due to any reason. This may be hereditary or it may be due to some medical condition like rheumatic disease or an abnormal thyroid. Chemotherapy or radiation may also damage the ovaries bringing about early onset of menopause. Surgical removal of the ovaries prior to normal menopause can also lead to early menopause. Early onset of menopause can also occur in women who smoke, have never been pregnant, or live at high altitudes. Read on…
Hormone replacement therapy and Menopause
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help in relieving the menopausal symptoms but shall fail in making the menopausal women fertile again. The use of supplemental hormones shall fail to restore ovarian function or fertility. Menopausal women are considered to be permanently infertile after they have had cessation of menses for one year.