Menopause: Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis
What is menopause?
Monthly refers to a lack of monthly periods for 12 months. At the same time, the woman cannot be able to get pregnant through natural means.
Periods start getting less frequent after years. In some situations, they just stop suddenly. Menopause is a natural aging process that normally occurs between the ages of 45 to 55 when the levels of estrogen in a woman start declining. However, in some rare cases, some women reach menopause before the age of 40 while in some instances it might not occur before the woman attains the age of 60. The average menopause age is 51 years.
Symptoms of menopause
Symptoms of menopause are easy to identify. Some women go through the menopause phase without any unpleasant symptoms or serious complications.
However, some women find menopause symptoms unbearable at the beginning during or even before menopause. The symptoms experienced by women are mostly related to reduced production of female sex hormones such as progesterone and estrogen.
Symptoms vary from one person to the other since these hormones have numerous effects on the female body.
Oestrogen is mainly concerned with the menstrual cycle and regulates the reproductive system, breasts, heart and blood vessels, brain, pelvic muscles, mucous membranes, the urinary tract, hair, skin, and bones. This implies that women can experience menopause systems all over their bodies.
Menstrual cycle changes
The periods may not be regular as they used to be. Bleeding might be lighter or heavier than usual.
Additionally, the periods might be longer or shorter than the duration.
A woman should first conduct a pregnancy when she misses her periods just to be sure it’s not a pregnancy.
If it is not a pregnancy, then the missed periods could point towards the onset of menopause.
Most women experience hot flashes as a primary indicator of menopause.
When hot flashes occur, the woman might be a drastic feeling of heat mainly in the upper part of the body and sometimes all over.
The neck and face might turn red and the woman might feel flushed or sweaty. The intensity of the hot flashes normally ranges from very strong to mild and mainly lasts from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
Most women will experience these hot flashes for around two years after having their final periods.
Some will have them shorter, while others will have them longer. However, the intensity lessens as time progresses.
Some women who experience hot flashes opt to seek medical attention if they disrupt their lives significantly. Several available remedies provide relief from hot flash symptoms. It is therefore advisable to consult a qualified physician.
Pain during intercourse and vaginal dryness
The reduced production of progesterone and estrogen can affect the thin moisture layer coating the vaginal walls. Although vaginal dryness can occur to women at any age, it is more prevalent for menopausal women. Itching around the vulva as well as burning or stinging are some of the symptoms.
Intercourse can be very painful due to vaginal dryness. In some instances, it might lead to light bleeding or the woman might feel like she wants to urinate frequently. To minimize vaginal dryness a vaginal moisturizer or a water-based lubricant can be applied.
Sleeping problems or insomnia
Doctors recommend that a normal human being should sleep for at least seven hours for optimal health. A woman going through menopause might wake up earlier. Going back to sleep also becomes problematic.
To ensure enough rest, a woman can try several breathing and relaxation techniques. Exercising during the day also helps since the person will be tired by the time they retire to bed. Additionally, it is good to stay away from cell phones, computers, and tablets before bed. The blue light they emit can disrupt sleep.
It is a common occurrence for women going through menopause to lose bladder control. Women can also feel a constant urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full or even experience painful urination.
The main reason behind this is that the tissues in the urethra and vagina lose elasticity during menopause and their lining thins. The pelvic muscles around the area might also weaken. To minimize urinary incontinence, women are advised to avoid alcohol, use kegel exercise to strengthen the pelvic muscles and always stay hydrated.
Urinary tract infections
Some women might suffer from increased urinary tract infections during menopause. Lowered levels of female hormones coupled with changes that occur in the urinary tract can lead to increased infections. If a woman experiences a burning sensation when urinating or a persistent urge to urinate, she should see a doctor.
It is a common occurrence for most women to lose interest in sex during menopause. This is contributed by physical changes as a result of reduced estrogen. Some of these changes can include absent or slow orgasmic response, delayed clitoral reaction time and vaginal dryness. There are several prescriptions that can assist menopausal women to continue with a satisfying sex life.
This condition is mainly contributed by a reduction in the production of estrogen. It is mainly characterized by inflammation and thinning of the vaginal walls. This condition can make sexual intercourse very painful. Eventually, they will lose interest in sex. Fortunately, there are over the counter prescription treatments and lubricants. Others include a vaginal ring or estrogen cream that can remedy the situation.
Depression and mood swings
Some women might experience mental instability due to the changes in hormone production that occur during menopause. Women have reported feelings of depression, mood swings, and irritability. Women can experience severe lows and extreme highs within a very short time. it is vital to remember that these hormones have an effect on the brain.
As women age, they will experience changes in their hair and skin. Loss of collagen and fatty tissue will make the skin look thinner or drier. As a result, the lubrication and elasticity of the skin near the vagina are affected. Hair loss and hair dryness can also be contributed by reduced estrogen.
Menopause is a natural occurrence that affects women around the age of 50. Sometimes it might happen later or earlier since it varies from one individual to the next. There is a wide range of prescriptions and treatments available for the different conditions that come with menopause.