Menopause – It’s Here!
Menopause refers to a stage in woman’s life characterized by a permanent cessation of her menstrual activities. It implies that a woman stops having her monthly menstrual periods for the rest of her life, after she achieves the menopause. A normal healthy woman reaches the menopause between the ages of 40-50. This can be natural or medically induced due to surgery.
It can take 5 years for a woman to achieve the final menopause stage. If a woman has not experienced any menstrual periods for a year, the condition is known as menopause. During this time, there are several hormonal changes in a woman’s body. These changes emerge as the signs of menopause. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertility and reproductive years. During menopause, production of the estrogen hormone reduces drastically in a woman and her ovaries stop producing eggs.
Menopause is a natural and biological process. It is not a disease. It is just a transition period of a woman’s life. 75% of women experience some or all menopausal symptoms during menopause. There are no common symptoms as every woman’s body would react in a unique way towards and during menopause.
Some Symptoms of Menopause
Women experience a decrease in bone density with the onset of menopause. The calcium absorption of the body reduces. This results in repeated fractures and brittle nails that can be a sign of menopause. Women must therefore supplement their diet with dairy products. It’s also a great idea to reduce your intake of tea and coffee-just be more mindful of how much you are consuming daily.
Dry skin is another sign of menopause. It is partly due to aging and exposure to the sun. A generous use of moisturizers can solve this problem. Also, hydration begins on the inside, please increase your consumption of water!! Drink half your weight in water and a really high quality Omega-3 supplement will do wonders too for dry skin, nails and hair. A woman can experience sudden hot flushes and break out in sweat. At night, the same hot flushes can disrupt sleep resulting in restlessness. These flushes are because of restriction of blood vessels. This can make the menopausal woman feel tired and sapped of energy all the time.
Urinary incontinence is also a sign of menopause. Because of changes in hormones, the tissues of the body lose their elasticity causing loss of control over the bladder. A menopausal woman can experience vaginal dryness and atrophy and loss of interest in sexual matters.
After the age of 50, a woman must get a regular check=up of her cholesterol levels. Increased cholesterol level can be a sign of menopause. A woman must exercise control over her diet and include green vegetables in her diet.
Hair Loss & Stiff Joints
Many signs of menopause like falling hair or stiff joints can be confused with those of aging. However, it is a result of reduced production of estrogen and progesterone hormones. One can even have sudden excess hair growth due to over-production of testosterone.
Some women have trouble in remembering things. This loss of memory can be a sign of menopause. Women become over sensitive and seem to cry at the slightest provocation. They feel left out and lonely. These changes in mental attitude are due to menopause.
Hot flashes are landmark signs of menopause. As the level of estrogen drops in a woman, her blood vessels expand rapidly. This causes her skin temperature to rise. This can further cause hot flashes or a sudden spread of warmth to her shoulders, head and neck, starting from her chest. This sudden gush of warmth causes a woman to sweat, and when the sweat evaporates from her skin, she feels chilled, and slightly faint. Women also experience raid heart beating and a feeling of anxiety. The face of a woman looks flushed. She might experience red blotches on her neck, arms and chest area.
These hot flashes usually last up to 30 seconds and in some cases up to several minutes. There is no common frequency or duration of hot flashes as they vary from a woman to woman. Women often experience hot flashes during the initial years after their menopause.
Hot flashes affect the life of a woman directly. If they happen during night, they can disrupt the sleep. They cause night sweats. A woman can often wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep again. This results in lack of restful and refreshing sleep, which can have a knock on effect in the morning.
As a woman approaches her menopause stage, she experiences irregularity in the menstrual periods. Periods become either long or short. Menstrual bleeding becomes heavier or lighter. A woman might experience skipping of periods. These symptoms mark the onset of menopause.
As a result of menopause the production of estrogen decreases. As a result of it the organs such as urinary bladder, vagina, uterus, and urethra become weak and shrink. When bladder and urethra become weak and shrink, they can lead to infection, leakage of urine and painful urination.
As the tissue lining of vagina shrinks a woman experiences pain during intercourse. A woman might also suffer from vaginal dryness, irritation and itching.
Changes in appearance
During the menopause transition, a woman on an average gains 5 pounds of weight. Initially this weight was believed to get concentrated on hips and thighs of a woman. New researches have shown that the weight might settle in a woman’s abdomen too.
A woman might experience wrinkling of the skin, fullness in breasts, and thinning hair.
Behavioral and emotional changes
A woman might experience fatigue, irritability and frustration during menopause. She might experience decreased concentration and memory loss. These changes are a direct result of hormonal fluctuations in her body during menopause.
As a result of menopause the density of bones in a woman’s body tends to decrease. She starts losing calcium from her bones following the drop in estrogen levels. This can lead to a condition of weak bones known as osteoporosis. A woman also becomes susceptible to fractures.
Menopause can be a difficult time for most women to one degree or another. With good knowledge of the signs of menopause, one can handle this transition in life with greater understanding and sensitivity towards our feelings. Knowledge about the signs of menopause can also be helpful in tackling the problems better.
For more information on Menopause, check out my other posts:
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