Symptoms and Causes of Menopause

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Every woman’s menopause symptoms and experience are unique. Some women may suffer from severe symptoms for short durations, while other women may experience the transformation mildly.

The severity and duration of the menopause symptoms may vary according to the health of your ovary. Your ovary’s health is impacted by medical conditions, such as hysterectomy and other ailments and by your lifestyle choices. Therefore, it is essential to stay away from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco/drugs and leading an unhealthy way of life.

Each stage of menopause is marked with specific and common symptoms. Let us the different symptoms of each stage and causes of menopause.

Symptoms of Menopause

The transformation of menopause has 3 stages – perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

Perimenopause

The age of perimenopause differs in each woman. This transformational stage is characterised by:

  • Irregular periods
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced energy levels/ Fatigue
  • Increased risk of urinary incontinence
  • Increased risk of vaginal infections
  • Low libido/sex drive
  • Reduced fertility
  • Increased levels of bad cholesterol and increased risk of heart problems
  • Loss of bone begins
Menopause

When you do not get menstrual periods for over a year, you get your menopause. During this stage, you may experience a few of these sings:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin, eyes or mouth
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Hair loss/thinning
  • Hair growth on face, chest, neck and upper back
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep or insomnia
  • Mental confusion
  • Difficult in concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of libido/ sex drive
  • Increased urination
  • Tender/ sore breasts
  • Less dense and sagging breasts
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations/ racing heart
  • Urge incontinence
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Osteoporosis symptoms
  • Low bone density
  • Stiff/ painful joints
  • Reduced muscle mass
Post-menopause

The stage after your menopause is post-menopause that lasts for the rest of your life. Though the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause stages subside, you may experience the below signs:

  • Insomnia/ sleep disturbances
  • Dry vagina
  • Mood swings
  • Mental confusion
  • Depression
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Headache
  • Osteoporosis signs
  • Low bone density
  • Stiff/ painful joints
  • Reduced muscle mass

Causes of Menopause

The key reason for menopause is the decline in female sex hormones. However, there are reasons that may lead to menopause. Here is a list of the causes:

  • Declining Reproductive/ Female Sex Hormones :
    As you reach your late 30s, your ovaries begin to make less sex or reproductive hormones – oestrogens and progesterone. These hormones control your menstrual cycle and release eggs that are vital for fertility and pregnancy. The fluctuating hormonal levels result in menopausal symptoms and once the ovaries stop releasing eggs, it results in menopause.
  • Oophorectomy (Surgical removal of ovaries) :
    When your ovaries are surgically removed, your periods immediately stop, and you reach menopause. You start experiencing symptoms, such as hot flashes and other signs. Due to this sudden removal of ovaries, some women may feel severe symptoms due to abrupt hormonal changes instead of gradual transformation.
    In hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), your menopause is not immediate, and your ovaries continue to release eggs and produce sex hormones at low levels.
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy : 
    Chemotherapy may result in menopause during or after the therapy. However, sometimes it may not stop your periods entirely.
    Radiation therapy results in menopause only when the radiation is used on the ovaries. However, if therapy is to treat other parts of the body, it will not result in cease your periods.
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) :
    POI or primary ovarian failure is a condition where a woman’s ovaries fail to produce normal levels of female sex hormones and result in menopausal symptoms. It could be due to genetic disorders, autoimmune disease, chemo/ radiotherapy or failure of the follicles.
Get all the information about menopause at allaboutmenopause.in.