Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is that transition in a woman's life wherein she ceases to
be reproductive. Literally, the term menopause means cessation of
menstruation. This period usually occurs among women at around the age
of 50. Menopause is a natural phase of a woman's physiological and
reproductive process and is to be anticipated in the middle years. The
woman's fertility is brought to a standstill at around these ages unless
there is loss of ovaries due to illness or injury in the years prior to
menopause. Most women consider symptoms of menopause to be
disturbing and even distressing, not only the physical manifestations,
but more so the emotional symptoms.
When the symptoms of menopause beset a woman before the age of 40, it is termed as premature menopause and happens to 1% of the female population. When we say menopause, it actually means the period or phase leading to actual menopause. The technical term perimenopause refers to the months or years leading to menopause. When a woman says I'm going through menopause and experiences symptoms of menopause, that is perimenopause. As there are individual differences among women, menopause symptoms vary from woman to woman, too. There are those fortunate enough not to experience harrowing symptoms of menopause other than irregular menstrual periods for several months before actual menopause.
For others, physical symptoms of menopause may include hot flashes and/or night sweats and vaginal dryness. Others may have problems in bladder control and other discomforting indications such as headache, fatigue, heart palpitation and muscle and joint pain. A majority of women may have trouble sleeping and may experience emotional menopause symptoms such as mood swings, depression and irritability. Menopause symptoms can also influence a womans sexuality. Others may have decreased libido and may have difficulty getting sexually excited and become less sensitive. Sex may even be painful due to vaginal dryness or the thinning of the vaginal tissue. Still there is a proportion of women who consider menopause a blessing as sex becomes more enjoyable as there are no pregnancy concerns anymore.
The symptoms of menopause are instigated by decreased levels of the female hormone estrogen. Each woman is born with a certain number of egg cells and once the egg cells in the ovary become gradually depleted, estrogen and other ovarian hormones likewise diminish. There are several options for a woman to consider in alleviating bothersome menopause symptoms. Although there may be remedies for minor physical menopause symptoms, it may be sensible to seek professional attention to find means to allay unpleasant menopause symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been an option to a majority of women in the past years to relieve and combat menopause symptoms.
There are women, however, who find alternative modalities other than HRT as there are concerns about its long term health risks. Therapy may likewise be a measure to address the emotional symptoms of menopause. Lifestyle and dietary modifications also facilitate in the management of menopause symptoms. Natural remedies such as the black herb cohosh may be helpful for night sweats and hot flashes as well as vitamins and other plant components. By Dr. Rose Windale