Menopause is a normal, natural event, defined as the final menstrual period
and usually confirmed when a woman has missed her periods for 12 consecutive months (in the
absence of other obvious causes) and fertility It is not an abrupt event, but a gradual
process. Menopause is not a disease that needs to be cured, but a
natural life-stage transition. Menopause is the time in a woman's life
when the function of the ovaries ceases due to aging, resulting in
lower levels of estrogen and other hormones.
In the Western world, the most typical age range for menopause (last
period) is between the ages of 40 and 60 and the average age for last
period is 51 years. In some developing countries however, such as
Indonesia and the Philippines, the median age of natural menopause is
considerably earlier, at 44 years.
Perimenopause is the process of change that leads up to menopause. It
can start as early as your late 30s or as late as your early 50s. How
long perimenopause lasts varies, but it usually lasts from 2 to 8
years. Women have irregular periods or other symptoms during this time.
Normal changes in your reproductive and hormone systems cause
menopause. As your egg supply ages, your body begins to ovulate less
often. During this time, your hormone levels go up and down unevenly
(fluctuate), causing changes in your periods and other symptoms. In
time, estrogen and progesterone levels drop enough that the menstrual
Conditions that affect the timing of menopause-
1.Surgical removal of ovaries
2.Chemotherapy and radiation therapy in treating cancer
3.Premature ovarian failure- Normally, the ovaries produce both
estrogen and progesterone. Changes in the levels of these two hormones
occur when the ovaries, for unknown reasons, prematurely stop producing
eggs. When this happens before the age of 40, it is considered to be
premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature
ovarian failure is not always permanent.
The signs and symptoms of menopause, however, often appear long before
the one-year anniversary of the final period. They include:
- Irregular periods
- Decreased fertility
- Vaginal dryness and atrophy
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings- irritability, anxiety, depression
- Memory loss
- Increased abdominal fat
- Thinning hair
- Loss of breast fullness
- Weight gain
- Changes in skin texture- including wrinkles
- Growth of hairs on upper lips, chin, chest and abdomen due
to secretion of testosterone hormone.
- Urinary incontinence and urinary tract infection
2.Heart diseases, increase chances of stroke.
3.Poor bladder an bowel control
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman,
even from one day to the next, hormone levels are not a reliable method
for diagnosing menopause. Even if levels are low one day, they may be
high the next day in the same woman. There is no single blood test that
reliably predicts when a woman is going through the menopausal
transition. Therefore, there is currently no proven role for blood
testing regarding menopause except for tests to exclude medical causes
of erratic menstrual periods other than menopause. The only way to
diagnose menopause is to observe the lack of menstrual periods for 12
months in a woman in the expected age range.
Menopause is a natural part of growing older. So treatment is required
for it unless symptoms bother you. But if symptoms are upsetting or
uncomfortable then there are treatments that can help.
The first step is to have a healthy lifestyle. This can help reduce
symptoms and also lower your risk of heart disease and other long-term
problems related to aging.
- Make a special effort to eat well. Choose a heart-healthy
diet that is low in saturated fat and includes plenty of fish, fruits,
vegetables, beans, and high-fiber grains and breads.
- Include plenty of calcium in diet to help bones to stay
strong. Get 1,200 mg a day after age 50. Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
are a great source of calcium.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can help in managing weight,
keep heart and bones strong, and lift the mood.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and stress for better sleep. These
things can make symptoms worse.
- Quitting smoking can reduce hot flashes and long-term
If lifestyle changes are not enough to
relieve symptoms, other measures are:
- Meditative breathing exercise (called paced respiration).
Breathing exercises may help reduce hot flashes and emotional symptoms.
- Black cohosh. This herb may prevent or relieve symptoms.
But experts don't know about its long-term safety.
- Soy (isoflavones). Some women feel that eating lots of soy
helps even out their menopause symptoms. It may also help keep your
bones strong after menopause.
- Yoga or biofeedback to help reduce stress.
If severe symptoms are present then ask
doctor about prescription medicines. Choices include:
- Low-dose birth control pills before menopause.
- Low-dose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause.
- A medicine called clonidine (Catapres) that is usually used
to treat high blood pressure.
All medicines for menopause symptoms
have possible risks or side effects. A very small number of women
develop serious health problems when taking hormone therapy. Be sure to
talk to your doctor about your possible health risks before you start a
treatment for menopause symptoms.
Remember, it is still possible to become pregnant until you reach
menopause. To prevent an unwanted pregnancy, keep using birth control
until you have not had a period for 1 full year.
Role of homoeopathy
Homeopathy can help during menopause by treating physical and emotional
symptoms caused by the drastic changes in a woman's hormones.
Homeopathic remedies are highly individualized and there are literally
dozens of remedies that can be useful for menopausal symptoms,
depending on your unique configuration of symptoms. This strengthens
the body's vital defenses and restores a healthy balance and sense of
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