Menopause

As far as a woman is concerned, menopause is a normal condition. One might have to face menopause as she ages. It can be best described as the changes a woman undergoes just before or immediately after the menstrual periods stops. It can be considered as the end of one’s reproductive period. Menopause is a normal process in a woman’s lifetime. Most cases marked 40 and above as the age for menopause. It may occur early or late in varied cases. Premature menopause is when it takes place before the age of 40. Early menopause can also be caused due to other reasons such as a result of hysterectomy, any surgery or damage to the ovaries from procedures like chemotherapy.

A natural menopause passes through three stages as explained below:

  • Perimenopause : It will start before several years of menopause. Specifically, when the ovaries start to procedure less estrogen. This condition of perimenopause will last until menopause, when the ovaries stop egg releasing. The estrogen production decreases quickly during the last 1-2 years of perimenopause. Menopause symptoms start to show during this period.

  • Menopause : If the woman doesn’t have the menstrual period for 1 year, it is considered to be menopause. The ovaries will stop releasing eggs and making more estrogen during this stage.

  • Postmenopause : The years after menopause is quoted as postmenopause period. Women will experience symptoms like hot flashes during this period. As the estrogen release decreases, there can be various health risks during postmenopause.

Symptoms of menopause other than hot flashes include the following:

  • Bouncing or irregular periods

  • Depression

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Pain in the joints and muscles

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Headache

  • Changes in sex drive (libido)

  • Problems with bladder control

  • Fatigue

There are no specific medical treatments for menopause. Treatments are meant to relieve the symptoms and preventing other chronic conditions associated with it. Some of the common treatments are:

  • Low-dose antidepressants

  • Hormone therapy

  • Neurontin or Gabapentin to reduce hot flashes

  • Medications or other options to prevent osteoporosis

  • Vaginal estrogen