Menopause is a great transitional stage for women. Some women may celebrate it, and some may land up in fear.
As a woman, you spend decades of your life dealing with the symptoms of menstruation. Bloating, cramping, mood changes and bleeding for a few days, sometimes at the most inconvenient times, maybe in the most inconvenient outfits too.
Menstrual periods change before your age of 40s when your bodies generate less estrogen and progesterone, and finally, your ovaries stop releasing eggs, and you no longer menstruate.
While most women expect to experience menopause in their early forties, there is no set age for menopause as such. You might also be surprised by your body’s response in such age groups.
Let us continue reading to learn about the typical age of menopause and how to enter it at an earlier or later age, as well as crucial elements that may impact menopause onset.
What does menopause mean?
Menopause refers to that phase of the woman’s life when menstruation stops. This stage marks the end of the ability to conceive and give birth. It is considered that menopause has started when no menstruation is reported for one year.
Menopause is not a disease but a part of the natural aging process.
What are the typical menopause stages?
A woman goes through three stages of menopause:
This is a stage when hormone levels start to decline and start having erratic, irregular menstrual cycles. Some side effects you may experience include hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
As defined earlier, menopause occurs when your body stops producing the hormones that cause your menstrual period. Having reached menopause, you enter the postmenopause stage.
Postmenopause is the period after menopause has occurred. Once this happens, you are in postmenopause for the rest of your life. People in the postmenopause period are at an increased risk for certain health conditions such as osteoporosis and dementia.
Let us dive into the details of these stages.
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause refers to the period preceding menopause. The quantity of mature eggs in a woman’s ovaries reduces during this transition period before menopause, and ovulation becomes unpredictable. Simultaneously, oestrogen and progesterone production diminishes. The majority of menopausal symptoms are caused by a significant decline in oestrogen levels.
Perimenopause is a transitional stage. It is a normal physiological stage occurring before menopause. Perimenopause begins at age of 40s. However, it may start earlier or later. It is considered ended when the woman has not had her menstruation for 12 consecutive months. Perimenopause may last from a few months to 8-10 years.
What are the signs of the perimenopause stage?
The following symptoms should be experienced by a woman who has high blood pressure:
- Adverse pregnancy effects
- Breast tenderness
- Worsened premenstrual syndrome
- Fatigue and poor sex drive when menstruating vaginal dryness
- Discomfort during sex
- Urine leakage when coughing
- Need for more frequent urination
- Mood swings and
- Trouble sleeping
What signs are felt in the postmenopause stage?
Some symptoms are quite common in postmenopausal women. Many women continue to experience menopausal symptoms during the postmenopausal period. These lingering symptoms are often milder than before, but they can still be problematic. This is a result of low estrogen levels and includes the following signs:
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Urinary incontinence
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Moodiness (mood swings like irritability, depression and anxiety)
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
How can you and your healthcare provider work out the treatment for menopause?
Many women do not need treatment for menopausal symptoms. You may find that the symptoms go away on their own. Or the symptoms may not be uncomfortable. If you are concerned about your symptoms, talk to your doctor on how to relieve them. You can work together to find the treatment that is right for you. Some women find that changing their diet and increasing physical activity can help. Others may need medications to relieve symptoms.
The hormone progesterone is approved for the treatment of postmenopausal women who experience pain during intercourse due to vaginal dryness. The medicine is injected into the vagina once a day. Over-the-counter medications reduce vaginal discomfort, dryness or pain. Water-based vaginal lubricants can make sex more comfortable. Vaginal moisturizers can help retain the moisture in your vaginal tissue and make sex more comfortable.
Certain prescription medications may help with vaginal discomfort, dryness or pain when over-the-counter medications do not work. This includes oestrogen creams, pills or rings that are put into the vagina. Menopause hormone therapy pills or patches may help if you have severe vaginal dryness. Menopausal hormone therapy is a prescription drug that relieves menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, when it is severe enough to interfere with daily life. Menopausal hormone therapy is sometimes known as hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy.
Menopausal hormone therapy treats symptoms after menopause, but it can raise your risk for blood clots, stroke and some cancers.
Some studies show relief from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms with herbal supplements. Some herbal supplements for managing the menopause symptoms are:
- Black cohosh
- Red clover
- Yoga, tai chi and acupuncture
Menopause is the time when a woman’s menstrual period halts. It can also be defined as a stage in women who can no longer become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about the best way to manage menopause. Make sure your doctor knows your medical history and family history. This includes if you are at risk for certain ailments like heart disease, osteoporosis or breast cancer.