Menopause – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Menopause is women problem which are defined as absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. The menopausal transition starts with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period. Menopause is an important time in a woman’s life. Her body is going through changes that can affect her social life, her feelings about herself, and her functioning at work. Menopause is not a disease. It is a natural process in a woman’s life. With a proper diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise and simple lifestyle changes, most of the unpleasant side effects of menopause can be minimized to a great extent and with this knowledge and preparation you can step forward with grace and embrace it! According to IMS research, there are currently 65 million Indian women over the age of 45. Not only has that, according to IMS, menopause often struck Indian women as young as 30-35 years.

Causes

Menopause may occur several years earlier or later then the median age of 51. However, younger women with certain risk factors can experience menopause earlier in life. Menopause increases risk factors for other health conditions. When a woman stops producing female hormones naturally, she loses the possible protective effects of those hormones. Estrogen affects many parts of the body, including the blood vessels, heart, bone, breasts, uterus, urinary system, skin, and brain. Loss of estrogen is believed to be the cause of many of the symptoms associated with menopause. Medical treatments such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation therapy can cause menopause by damaging the ovaries. However, not all premenopausal women undergoing these procedures will experience induced menopause.

Symptoms

Menopause symptoms happen because of declining levels of estrogen that generally begin to drop in a woman’s late 40s or early 50s, but can last for over a decade. When ovulation begins to fluctuate, you are less likely to become pregnant. Until you haven’t had a period for a year, however, pregnancy is still possible. The skin of your vagina and vulva becomes thinner with menopause. Your vagina also loses its ability to produce as much lubrication during sexual arousal. These changes can lead to pain during sex. Mood changes are most likely to be a combination of sleeplessness, hormonal swings, and psychologic factors as a woman undergoes this intense passage in her life.

Treatment

For nearly 50 years, the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms has been replacing one or both of the major female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Hormone replacement therapy, often abbreviated as “HRT”, restores both estrogen and progesterone.

To reduce the risk of osteoporosis it’s important to take vitamin D supplement, especially during winter time when there’s not much contact with direct sunlight. Calcium and magnesium supplements can also be beneficial to reduce menopause symptoms.

To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered locally using a vaginal tablet, ring or cream. This treatment releases just a small amount of estrogen locally to vaginal tissue, and can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.