Menopause Symptoms, Causes and Various Treatment Methods
Article by Peter Filinovich
Menopause usually occurs in women during their midlife around the early 50s. It is the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life and a transition from a reproductive life to a non reproductive one. This transition happens slowly over a period of time and is a natural process of aging in women. It is not a medical illness, but a natural process which marks the end of the menstruation cycle in a woman.
Menopause occurs over a period of time and is not a sudden occurrence. It takes place in 2 stages called Perimenopause and Postmenopause. In perimenopause, the symptoms start even while the woman menstruates. The imbalances caused in the hormonal levels results in the occurrence of the symptoms. It is unlikely to get pregnant during this time, but is possible. This stage may last for a couple of years or longer. Postmenopause occurs after the woman has reached 12 months since her last period. The ovaries stop releasing the eggs and the woman cannot get pregnant anymore. This is menopause and the years after this stage are known as postmenopause.
Symptoms – There are many symptoms of this stage in women. Some of the symptoms are: irregular periods, hot flashes, mood variations and swings, vaginal dryness, decreased fertility, thinning of hair, loss of breast fullness and increased abdominal fat. These symptoms start appearing over a period of time till you actually hit menopause.
Causes – The causes are as below:
1. Hormonal levels: The main and primary cause of menopause is the natural process of decline of the reproductive hormones. The levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones which are responsible to prepare the body for pregnancy decrease. These levels start declining in the 30s and the periods may become irregular in the 40s.
2. Hysterectomy: An operation that removes the uterus and the ovaries which is known as total hysterectomy causes menopause. In this condition, menopause occurs immediately with the symptoms.
3. Radiation: Radiation therapies can also cause menopause.
4. Ovarian insufficiency: In some women, the ovaries may fail to produce the hormones required for reproduction.
Treatment – Menopause does not need to be treated as it is not an illness or disease but a natural process. But the symptoms associated with menopause can be lessened with some treatments. Some of the treatments are as follows:
1. Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy such as estrogen therapy is one of the effective treatments for reducing the symptoms of menopause.
2. Neurontin: This has proved effective in reducing hot flashes.
3. Anti depressants: Some anti depressants are effective in reducing the symptoms like menopausal hot flashes.
4. Bisphosphonates: These medications may help in this condition.
5. Vaginal estrogen: Many vaginal creams, ointments and pills are available to cure the vaginal dryness caused.
6. Lubricants: Many lubricants are available to help reduce vaginal dryness.
7. Exercise: Exercising regularly may help in this condition.
8. Relaxation: Try to get adequate rest and sleep. Deep breathing and yoga may help you relax and de-stress.
9. Pelvic Exercises: Kegels exercise is a good way to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
10. Diet: It is important to eat a healthy and nutritious diet and avoid spicy and hot food which may trigger hot flashes. Also increase the intake of vitamin E in your diet.
11. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
Try these above treatments and simple changes in your lifestyle to ease the symptoms of menopause.
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