Every woman goes through a stage when her menstrual cycle stops. Menopause is a biological process occurring naturally. Medically, it happens when her ovaries stop functioning and she goes without a menstrual period for a year. This situation is called as Menopause. Menopause can occur at any age, there is no definite age for it to happen. It mostly happens from 45s to 50s, but many women get their menopause in their 30s also. The average age is 51 for menopause to occur.
Symptoms of Menopause
You might experience certain symptoms in the months or years leading to menopause. The common symptoms include low energy, hot flashes, urinary problems, irregular periods, disturbed sleep, vaginal dryness, mood swings, night sweats, thinning of hair, loss of breast fullness and slow metabolism. The symptoms may vary from woman to woman. It is not necessary that all women experience same symptoms.
Irregular Periods: Most women experience irregular periods before they cease, which is quite expected. Menstrual periods will often skip a month or several months and then return again for a few months. The cycle of periods also get shorter so they tend to be close together.
Vaginal Dryness: Often women start feeling itching and dryness in their vaginal area. They also experience pain during intercourse, which is also known as dyspareunia.
Urinary Problems: Many women start facing urinary problems in their pre-menopause period. They are more prone to get UTI (Urinary Tract Infections).
Hot Flashes: Women may experience sudden feeling of warm on their neck, face, and chest or on other upper parts of body that may later go to lower parts also. These are called Hot Flashes, which also can cause sweating in the body.
Low Fertility: The estrogen levels start diminishing rapidly in their pre-menopause period. This greatly affects their chance of conceiving and getting pregnant.
Causes of Early Menopause
Menopause is natural which results from decrease of reproductive hormones or insufficiency of primary ovarian. It may also happen due to chemotherapy and radiation therapy or hysterectomy.
Natural decrease in reproductive hormones: The ovaries of a woman start making fewer hormones that regulate menstruation- estrogens and progesterone by the time they reach in their 30s. As a result, their fertility also starts decreasing. By the age of 50s, the ovaries stop producing eggs and as a result, the periods stop.
Insufficiency of Primary Ovarian: Sometimes, menopause may also happen before age of 40 when there is insufficiency of primary ovarian. This situation occurs when the ovaries are not able to make normal levels of reproductive hormones. The cause of this can be a genetic reason or any autoimmune disease. Hence, a hormone therapy is recommended at least the natural age of menopause so that there is no adverse effect on brain, heart and bones.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy: The radiation therapies undertaken to battle cancer can also induce menopause and show symptoms like hot flashes. However, menopause is temporary after chemotherapy and periods may resume after sometime.
Hysterectomy: The process of hysterectomy, generally involves removal of uterus only and not the ovaries. Menopause does not happen due to this. But, in total hysterectomy, both uterus as well as ovaries is removed that causes immediate ceasing of menopause. There can be several abrupt hormonal changes following hysterectomy.
Menopause can be handled easily if you keep up with regular visits to your doctor. Change in lifestyle and hormone therapies can really help to handle the situation during and after menopause efficiently.