Menopause is that time in a woman's life that they no longer experience monthly periods. It usually occurs naturally at the age of 45 and above. Women experience menopause because their ovaries have already stopped producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, according to Medline Plus.
A woman is said to be already in menopause when they no longer experience a period for at least one year. But there are other symptoms that a woman must look out for that sometimes could start several years earlier.
Below are some of the symptoms of menopause and how you can handle them:
Hot flashes may begin in perimenopause or until after the last menstrual period. It could last for three to five years and are usually worse a year after the last menstrual period. However, some cases go on indefinitely.
Hot flashes or also known as vasomotor symptoms are the body's way to cool itself just like the way a refrigerator kicks on when it is opened on a hot day.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the outward sign of hot flashes include sweating and pink or reddened skin. The woman could also feel heart palpitations, anxiety, tension, and agitated or unsettled right before a hot flash occurs.
To help you manage hot flashes, take several steps and if possible identify the stimulus that could trigger your hot flashes and avoid it. Triggers could vary from woman to woman, like spicy food, hot beverages, warm air temperatures, stressful situations, alcohol, caffeine, and many others.
According to Everyday Health, menopause can alter the vagina as women experience a drop in estrogen levels that could cause dryness and urinary tract infections. These changes are called genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) that affects over 50% of postmenopausal women, according to a 2016 study.
If this condition is not treated, it can further the thinning of the vaginal wall ad ulceration may occur and cause bleeding in the area.
To help with the vaginal dryness, Astroglide or Silk-E lubricants may be applied, as well as a moisturizer like Replens may be helpful. Additionally, estrogen treatments directly applied to the vagina in the form of creams, rings, and tablets are also effective.
With hormonal changes happening in menopausal women, they can also experience mood swings especially during perimenopause than their postmenopausal years. These changes can be stressful for them and may bring on "the blues."
According to WebMD, it is like experiencing a higher level of PMS, with the "crying jags, happy hippies, and cranky crankies."
Doing yoga and tai chi can help relieve mood swings, as well as participating in doing fun activities with friends and family. Some doctors may suggest a low-dose birth control pill and antidepressants for the treatment of mood changes.
During the early stages of menopause, women may experience a shortened menstrual cycle, with periods beginning sooner than expected. From every 28 days, periods could come after 24 or 26 days and the flow might be lighter or heavier.
Sometimes women might experience no periods for three months, while others might experience regular periods after such a break.
Doctors often recommend birth control pills, which make periods go lighter. While intermittent doses of progestogen may be helpful for women with intermittent bleeding. An IUD called Mirena that secretes a low dose of progestogen levonorgestrel can also help control excess bleeding due to irregular ovulation or hormonal problems.
Check out more news and information on Menopause on Science Times.