Menopause

Suzy Kassem beautifully put together the Women Body in words:  “A woman’s body is a sacred temple. A work of art and a life-giving vessel. And once she becomes a mother, her body serves as a medicine cabinet for her infant. From her milk, she can nourish and heal her own child from a variety of ailments. And though women come in a wide assortment as vast as the many different types of flowers and birds, she reflects divinity in her essence, care, and wisdom. God created a woman’s heart to be a river of love, not to become a killing machine.” A woman’s body goes through many stages of change. From developing breasts to starting her menstrual cycle, it is a never-ending cycle. But one cycle comes to rest with Menopause.

A girl marks the end of her puberty when she starts with her menstruation cycle. The cycle usually begins between the age of 11 to 14 and continues till the early 50s. Periods or menstruation cycle continues to work throughout the years till a woman reaches the age of Menopause. While women enjoy a different flavor of her growth, she faces a lot of challenges too. Climacteric is one such difficulty that takes a toll on women’s mental and physical health and often leaves them depressed.

Let’s dwell on everything there is to know about Menopause.  

Menopause

A menstrual cycle comes to an end with Climacteric. It marks the end of bloody days, but what exactly is happening to the women’s body?

Menopause is a natural process that is bound to happen with age. When a woman, usually in the age bracket of the 50s, does not get her periods for 12 months, she will be gradually diagnosed with Menopause. Climacteric does not happen all of a sudden. It is a lengthy process called perimenopause. In perimenopause, the women’s body is showing symptoms of Menopause. As the body transitions to Menopause over some years, they may have menopause symptoms and irregular periods. 

Perimenopause

Perimenopause or the transition of Menopause usually begins several years before Climacteric. This is the phase when the ovaries progressively start to produce less estrogen. For women in their 40s, she will begin to show the signs of perimenopause. However, it can also start in their 30s or even earlier, depending on their health factors.

Perimenopause continues up until women hit the Menopause. Also, it is the point when the ovaries stop liberating eggs. There is a drop in estrogen in the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause. In this stage, women generally have Climacteric symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

After Menopause, the body produces considerably lesser of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. After Climacteric, deficient estrogen levels can distress their health and cause symptoms such as hot flashes. There are many symptoms that a women’s body shows. 

However, these symptoms may differ in different women.

  1. Their periods become irregular.
  2. They have hot flashes and night sweats.
  3. There could be changes in cholesterol levels in a women’s body.
  4. Their sleeping schedule messes up.
  5. They may feel moody.
  6. There are chances of forgetting things
  7. They think differently about sex.
  8. There are often physical changes.
  9. Their vagina may get drier.
  10. They may face health problems, like vaginal or bladder infections.
  11. Women are more inclined to depression during Menopause.
  12. Pains, headaches, and heart palpitations are such symptoms of Menopause.

Factors Responsible for Menopause

Although Menopause is a normal phase in a women’s life, there are several cases where they may happen earlier in some women than in others. Earlier perimenopause is not always decisive. However, some indication suggests that certain factors may start the perimenopause at an earlier age than expected. Few factors are mentioned below:

  1. Family history

    Women who have a family history of early Menopause might experience early Menopause themselves.

  2. Smoking

    Women who smoke may get the onset of Menopause one to two years earlier than women who don’t smoke.

  3. Cancer treatment

    Cancer treatment that involves chemotherapy or pelvic radiation therapy might be a factor responsible for early Menopause.

  4. Hysterectomy

    When a woman gets hysterectomy surgery, they remove the uterus but not the ovaries. But, somehow, they may not get periods any longer, but their ovaries still produce estrogen. This does not cause sudden Menopause, but such surgery may reason Menopause to happen earlier than average women.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis for perimenopause or Menopause is usually not required. The doctor or gynecologist might commend blood tests for checking the hormone levels to rule out other health problems such as thyroid.

The signs and symptoms of experience by women during perimenopause might be due to several reasons. There are several treatments offered to cope up with early menopause symptoms.

  1. For Hormone Fluctuations: The doctor might suggest Hormone replacement therapy.
  2. For Lack of Sleep from Insomnia: The doctor might prescribe medicines such as Ambien.
  3. The Night Sweats: The doctor might suggest sleeping in comfortable and light clothes.
  4. For Stress and Depression: The health care provider may recommend Antidepressant medication like Ativan.
  5. The Hot Flashes: The Non-hormonal medication choices help treat hot flashes
  6. For Vaginal Dryness and itching: The gynecologist might suggest Vaginal estrogen.
  7. The decline in sexual intercourse: The doctor may recommend a medication like female Viagra to demolish the decrease in sexual intercourse.

Also, the doctor suggests healthy lifestyle changes. Further, they may include regular exercising, consuming good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and stress reduction techniques.

Coping

Going through the phase of Menopause can be challenging and energy draining. However, there are few changes that one can make to cope up with these mood swings and symptoms.

“One can start eating healthy; avoid big meals significantly earlier at bedtime. Women can maintain a stable and average weight. Foods that are spicy or acidic may trigger hot flashes, so avoiding them is the best. Include foods that are rich in soy as they may diminish hot flashes.”

One should avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, specifically before bedtime.

Women with insomnia or sleep deficiency should dress in lightweight clothes to improve the efficiency of sleep. One should avoid heavy or cloistering blankets. Further, they can reflect on using a fan or air conditioning to cool the air and upsurge circulation.

Try to lessen the stress and worry as much as possible. One can indulge in relaxation techniques, massage, and exercise. They can consult behavioral health specialists if depressed, anxious, or having problems. Talking to the family members helps in creating a warm and open environment.

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