Overview of Menopause
Not sure if your symptoms are an indication of menopause? Get all the information here.
When you do not get menstrual periods for 12 months in a row, it means you got menopause. The usual age to hit menopause is between 45-55; however, a few women may get it even before 40 years. Recognise the symptoms early and consult your doctor at the earliest instead of distressing about it.
Know all about menopause, its stages, causes, symptoms and other information.
What Are the Different Stages of Menopause
Menopause is a ride that begins a few years before you get menopause and lasts up to a decade after it. The entire journey is divided into 3 stages:
- Perimenopause: The phase where your ovaries are making less oestrogen hormone, and you have started experiencing common symptoms, such as irregular periods, dry skin, moodiness and other symptoms. Know more
- Menopause: In this phase, you did not have menstrual periods for over 12 months, and you were neither sick nor pregnant. This phase is marked by low sex drive, irritation, depression, joint pain and other signs. Know more
- Post-menopause: This phase lasts for years after you hit menopause, and you may be at risk of developing low-oestrogen related conditions, such as osteoporosis, mental confusion, insomnia and other indicators. Know more
Apart from these stages, some women may go through:
- Premature menopause: If you are experiencing menopause before 40 years, then it is called Premature menopause.
- Early menopause: If you get menopausal symptoms between 40-45 years, then it is called Early menopause.
Symptoms and Causes of Menopause
Symptoms of Menopause
Each stage of menopause has some common and a few specific symptoms that may differ in severity.
- Irregular periods
- Dry skin
- Sore breasts
- Vaginal dryness
- Troubled sleep
- Weight gain
- Muscle and joint pain
- Hair loss
- Low sex drive
- Mental confusion
- Osteoporosis signs
- Hot flashes
- Dry vagina
- Mood swings
Causes of Menopause
The chief cause of menopause is the decline in sex or reproductive hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones control the menstrual cycle, release eggs and are essential for fertility and pregnancy. However, when the ovaries stop releasing the eggs, it results in menopause.
Other reasons could be, hysterectomy (when the ovaries are removed) or when the ovaries are damaged from treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Treatment for Menopause
Menopause is a natural development that does not require any treatment. However, to relieve the symptoms and prevent any chronic condition, your doctor may recommend a few treatments depending upon the severity of your symptoms.
Different treatments to alleviate menopausal symptoms include:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) HRT is an effective method of relieving menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes. If your uterus is not removed, you may be recommended a combination of oestrogen and progestin therapy. Though effective, your doctor will not continue this therapy for long as it may result in side effects, such as cardiovascular and breast cancer risk.
- Vaginal Oestrogen Vaginal oestrogen treatments, such as vaginal cream, tablet or a ring is an effective way of treating vaginal dryness caused by menopause. Your vaginal tissues easily absorb the oestrogen present in the creams/tablets/rings and reduce urinary symptoms and prevent any pain during intercourse.
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Other treatments include a low dosage of antidepressants SSRIs and Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI). These are off-label treatments that alleviate hot flashes and mood disorders.
- Non-hormonal Supplements Non-hormonal supplements are fast becoming popular among women who do not wish to undergo HRT and other therapies owing to their side effects. In this treatment, you are prescribed non-hormonal supplements to reduce menopause symptoms, such as loss of bone density, hot flashes, night sweats and other signs.
- Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements Osteopenia and osteoporosis are some of the common signs of menopause. So, your doctor may recommend vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent skeletal diseases, reduce bone loss and improve bone mineral density.
Selfcare During Menopause
- Eat nutrition-rich food, including dairy products to lessen skeletal diseases risk.
- Try and get adequate sleep at night
- Be physically active and do regular workout
- Practice meditation, yoga and other relaxing techniques
- Quit drinking and smoking
- Get help from your partner, family and friends.