Menopause, is the age, typically around 50 to 55 in most women when they completely stop menstruating. This may sound like a relief to some but it has got its own problems. This is a natural process that every woman goes through but here are some symptoms that are common in women who attain menopause:
- Hot flashes – A feeling of heat that comes of out nowhere in the body and spreads across the entire body resulting in sweating, heart palpitations etc.
- Vaginal dryness – Vagina stops (reduces to a large extent) lubricating itself. This too is a natural biological process because, once menopause stage is attained, woman can no longer get pregnant and thus, having intercourse is not required from the perspective of reproduction.
- Chills, night sweats, irregular sleep are also common.
- Mood swings – are mainly caused due to hormonal changes inside the body during this period and also during perimenopause stage. (Time before attaining complete menopause).
- Weight gain as a result of lowered metabolism is also seen in women attaining menopause.
Some women may not have some of these symptoms but will have most of them. During the time of perimenopause, one can notice the following happening:
- Skipping of periods
- Reduced days of menstruation
- Reduced gap between each period. Basically, they become irregular.
- Finally, no periods.
When a woman has no periods for a continuous duration of 12 months, she is considered as attained the menopause state. One important thing to note is, a woman can surely get pregnant during perimenopause stage. So, if a period is skipped and if you had unprotected intercourse after your last cycle, then it is advisable to check for pregnancy.
Causes of menopause
- Hormonal Changes – As women start ageing, the amount of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) the body produces becomes less. And when the ovaries stop producing eggs, menstruation stops completely.
- Hysterectomy – There are different types of hysterectomy. You can go through them by clicking link – Laparoscopic Hysterectomy. In either total or partial hysterectomy, immediate menopause may not be achieved because; the ovaries are left in their place. In case of Bilateral Salpino-oophorectomy, the complete set (uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes) is removed. That results in immediate menopause.
- Cancer treatment – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can sometimes pause menstruation in some women. This happens temporarily after the treatment. Women, who don’t want to get pregnant, must have protected sex or use birth control pills.
- Primary Ovarian Insufficiency – Some women attain menopause stage by the age of 40. This can be due to birth defects or other unknown reasons when the ovaries stop producing enough amounts of hormones required to keep the reproductive system functioning like normal.
Health issues a woman can expect after menopause:
- Cardiovascular problems – Due to the decreased levels of hormones and decreased rate of metabolism, the chances of heart problems increases. It is important to maintain healthy lifestyle, do regular workouts along with healthy diet after reaching menopause. It is also advisable to get regular health checks done along with checking the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood.
- Osteoporosis – After menopause, bones start becoming weak. Maintaining healthy weight is very important. As bones become fragile, there are chances of fractures (to hip, spine, wrists) if you fall or meet with even a minor accident.
- Urinary Incontinence – The tissues and muscles in the pelvis region become weak with age. This can result in leakage of urine on coughing, laughing or when lifting little heavy weights. It is important to work out regularly to keep the muscles in the pelvis region strong. Hormone capsules or pills may be prescribed by your gynaecologist as a part of treating Urinary Incontinence. To learn more about Urinary Incontinence, you can visit the link – Urinary Incontinence
- Painful Sex and loss of interest in sex – As the vagina stops lubricating like before, intercourse becomes painful. You may need to use water based lubricants or medicines/gels prescribed by your gynaecologist. At times, forceful intercourse may result in bleeding. You may lose interest in sex too due to the reduced levels of hormones.
- Weight Gain – As mentioned already, the metabolism slows down. You must take care of what you eat and how much you eat. Working out regularly and maintaining healthy weight is very important.