Menopause: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Menopause is a normal condition that all women will experience as they get older. However, there is no definitive way to predict when a woman will enter the end of the monthly cycle in that woman. Sometimes, the emergence of this condition makes women feel relieved and do not have to control birth, because they can not get pregnant again.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is the end of the menstrual cycle in women, aged 40 to 58 years, but on average it occurs at age 51 years. However, this condition can also occur earlier due to certain medical conditions and treatments, such as removal of the ovaries.

Menopause is a natural biological process and not a health problem. But physical symptoms and emotional symptoms can disrupt sleep quality, reduce energy or affect emotional health. The end of the cycle in women can be diagnosed after no longer having menstruation for 12 months.

Early menstrual symptoms appear before the cycle ends and even last for several years. The impact of symptoms on quality of life ranges from mild to severe. Relax, there are a number of ways to deal with the symptoms. Therefore, read on to get more detailed information below.

Manopause can occur in several stages, including these:

  • Perimenopause is a transition that begins before menopause and includes the 12 months that follow the last cycle.
  • Menopause starts for 12 months after the last cycle or when menstruation has stopped due to a medical condition.
  • Postmenopause is the time after menstruation ends, although it is difficult to know when menopause ends and postmenopause begins.

Menopause Symptoms

The symptoms in each woman are different and are usually more severe when menopause appears suddenly or in a shorter time. This condition has an impact on ovarian health, cancer, hysterectomy, and certain lifestyles tend to increase the severity and duration of symptoms.

Apart from menstrual changes, the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are usually the same. But the most common early signs of perimenopause include:

  • Uncommon or irregular periods
  • Menstruation heavier or lighter than usual
  • Vasomotor symptoms, including hot flashes (75 percent of women experience), redness, and night sweats

While the most frequent symptoms of menopause include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problem
  • Decreased libido or reduced sexual desire
  • Dry to the skin, mouth and eyes
  • Frequent urination
  • Breast pain, softness and sagging
  • Heart beating fast
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss
  • Hair growth is increased in other areas of the body, such as the upper back, chest, neck and face.

When to see a doctor?

During and after menopause, check with your doctor regularly for health care and prevention. Likewise if you experience bleeding from the vagina after menopause.

Preventive health care as we get older may be recommended for health screening tests, such as colonoscopy, mammography, and triglyceride screening. Your doctor may also recommend other tests, such as a thyroid test if you have a history, as well as a breast and pelvic exam.

Causes of Menopause

The end of menstruation in women can be caused by certain health conditions, medical procedures and medications.

Menopause is most often caused by the following:

1. Natural Decreased Reproductive Hormones

As women approach their late 30s, ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone (a hormone that regulates menstruation) and decreased fertility.

Menstrual periods in their 40s may be longer or even shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent. While at the age of 51 years, the ovaries will stop producing eggs and menstruation stops.

2. Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

About 1 percent of women experience menopause early or before the age of 40 years. Menstruation that ends can occur due to the ovaries failing to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones, which come from genetic factors or autoimmune diseases. But often there are no clear causes.

3. Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a medical procedure to remove the uterus that causes the menstrual cycle to end. Menstruation that ends tends to cause hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause that can be severe due to sudden hormonal changes.

4. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy

This cancer therapy can cause hot flashes during or immediately after treatment. Cessation of menstruation (and fertility) is not always permanent after chemotherapy, so birth control may still be needed.

Menopause Risk Factors

Here are a number of factors that can reduce physiological menopause age:

  • Smoke
  • Family history related to X carrier fragile
  • Hysterectomy
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • A history of certain chemotherapy treatments or undergoing radiotherapy

Menopause diagnosis

Signs and symptoms are usually enough to tell most women that they are experiencing menopause. If you experience irregular periods or hot flashes, consult your doctor. In some cases, further assessment is recommended.

Tests are usually not needed for diagnosis, but in certain circumstances, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check hormone levels:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen (estradiol), because FSH levels increase and estradiol levels decrease when the menstrual cycle ends.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), because underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause symptoms similar to menopause.

Natural Menopause Treatment

Lifestyle changes can help women overcome the signs of menopause. Here are some steps you can take:

  • If you experience hot flashes, drink cold water, sit or sleep near a fan, and dress in layers.
  • Eat high nutritious foods and maintain a healthy body weight to help deal with hot flashes.
  • Use vaginal moisturizer or lubricant to deal with dryness.
  • Exercise regularly to get better sleep and prevent health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
  • Diligent exercises such as yoga, deep breathing, or massage to help relax.
  • Stay active socially and mentally to prevent memory problems.
  • Strengthen pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises to prevent urinary incontinence or bladder leakage.
  • Do not smoke. Tobacco can cause premature menopause and increase the sensation of heat.
  • Avoid alcohol to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer and help improve sleep quality.

Medical Menopause Treatment

Most signs of menopause will disappear over time. But if symptoms cause health problems, the following treatments are given to help with discomfort:

1. Hormone Replacement Therapy (TPH).

The doctor will prescribe drugs to replace hormones that are no longer produced by the body. Certain medications can help overcome hot flashes and other vaginal symptoms, and make bones stronger.

Unfortunately these drugs can increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease or breast cancer. For that, take the lowest dose that works for the shortest time possible.

2. Topical Hormone Therapy

This therapy uses an estrogen cream or gel that is inserted into the vagina to help deal with dryness.

In addition, estrogen therapy is also effective for removing hot flashes. Depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor will recommend low doses of estrogen.

If you still have a uterus, you will need progestins in addition to estrogen. Long-term use of hormone therapy may have some cardiovascular and breast cancer risk, but starting hormone therapy when the menopause ends can benefit some women.

3. Non-hormone hormones

Medications can be given to treat symptoms, including depression drugs (paroxetine) to treat hot flashes, nerve drugs (gabapentin) and blood pressure medications (clonidine).

Medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) can help the body use estrogen to treat hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

4. Supplements for Osteoporosis

Your doctor may suggest medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Several drugs are available to help reduce bone loss and fracture risk, one of which is vitamin D supplementation to help strengthen bones.

Complications

The reduction in estrogen associated with menopause is related to a number of health problems that become more frequent with age in women.

After menopause, women are more likely to experience the following complications:

  • Bone loss (osteoporosis)
  • Heart disease
  • Bladder and intestinal problems
  • The risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease is higher
  • More wrinkles arise
  • Reduced strength and muscle mass
  • Vision disorders, such as cataracts and macular degeneration

Prevention

Preventing early menopause basically can be done by living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding a number of risk factors.

Here are some tips that can prevent menopause:

1. Running a Healthy Diet

Eat low saturated fat and low trans fat foods, high fiber foods such as whole grains and nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, soy, and folate rich foods.

2. Diligent Sports

Sports or physical activity can help eliminate hot flashes, regulate moods, and regulate body weight. Exercise also helps reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce stress.

3. Enough sleep

Changed sleep patterns are a symptom of the end of menstruation. Changes in hormone levels can also make women more tired than usual. That is why it is very important in getting used to sleep on time in order to get quality sleep.

4. Maintain Bone Strength

Estrogen plays an important role in forming new bone. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, even bone density will decrease. In fact, bone density usually decreases rapidly during the first few years of the end of menstruation. As a result, the risk of fracture increases significantly.

Now, to prevent bone loss, do a bone density test. If the test results show reduced bone density, here are some tips to help maintain bone strength:

  • Eat foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Strength training, such as weight lifting or yoga.
  • Exercise in a safe way to help prevent fractures and injuries.

5. Control Blood Pressure

How to prevent further early menopause by monitoring blood pressure. The risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, can increase when estrogen production decreases during menopause. To monitor blood pressure, check it regularly.

If diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest medication, lifestyle changes, or therapy. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can also help avoid and treat high blood pressure.

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