What you can expect during Menopause

So often I hear women describing various symptoms of menopause, and not realizing that they were in this phase of their hormonal life cycle.
Many women are in complete denial and refuse to even admit it. Despite this I gently remind them that menopause occurs over a period of time and is different for everyone.
What your mother or sister experienced may be entirely different for you.
For some women, it is barely noticeable, but for others it is a dramatic physiological shift.

Here is a brief overview…

Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when her periods stop and she can no longer become pregnant. This is a normal transition for a woman. Menopause happens over a period of time. For some women it is noticeable at the age of 45 years. The average is 50 years or older. A woman will know she has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row.

Menopause has been referred to as, “the change of life.” In some cases, women may not even be aware that a physical change is occurring. Others may have significant symptoms which can leave them frustrated and confused. Occasionally, women think the symptoms must be tolerated and don’t even know there are treatment options. Take the time to read this series of articles, educate yourself and seek advice from your doctor as well.

What to look out for…………

Have you experienced any of the following symptoms?

Hot flashes, night sweats, flushes, cold flashes, or a clammy feeling?
Irritability, mood swings.
Rapid heart beat.
Issues with sleeping.
Shorter, lighter periods, heavier periods, irregular menstruation
Vaginal dryness
Loss of libido
Feelings of apprehension
Memory lapses
Itchy skin
Sore joints, tendons and muscles
Breast tenderness
Weight gain
Body odor
Gum problems
Tingling sensations
Hair loss
Ringing in the ears

What is the Physiology behind Menopause?
Menopause occurs at the end of the reproductive stage of a womans life. It happens because of diminishing ovarian function. Menopause is a normal biological process in a woman’s life and is not an illness.
The premenopausal stage can start as early as late 30s—during these years, women tend to notice irregular periods. Menstruation may increase, decrease, or even lapse for several months.
There are two types of menopause: natural and surgical menopause.

In natural menopause, menstruation stops due to decreasing ovarian function leading to reduced secretion of hormones. This change happens gradually—until eventually not enough hormones are produced to initiate a regular menstrual cycle.

Surgical menopause occurs when both ovaries are removed. Periods immediately stop because the source of progesterone and estrogen is removed.
Surgical menopause can feel more severe than natural menopause due to the sudden absence of hormone levels in the body.

Understanding your hormones and the role they play in your symptoms will help you make better choices and make the transition for yourself as smooth as possible.

Tomorrow’s post will discuss the role hormones play in Menopause.