What is Menopause? Menopause is defined as the point in time when menstrual cycles permanently cease due to the natural depletion of ovarian oocytes from aging. The diagnosis is typically made retrospectively after the woman has missed menses for 12 consecutive months. It marks the permanent end of fertility and the average age of menopause is 51 years.
Let's have a quick look at 9 facts you need to know about menopause.
Menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertility and it typically begins around age 50, although it can happen sooner or even later. Here are the most important facts you need to know about menopause.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries begin to stop producing female hormones, leading to a cessation of menstrual periods.
The primary symptoms of menopause include a change in the menstrual cycle so the periods are far apart or too close together. Some of the main symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, insomnia, decrease in libido, brain fog and other cognitive changes.
Mood swings are common in menopause, if your emotions suddenly turn so erratic that they begin to affect your life and relationships, please realize that you are not going crazy, this is simply a result of fluctuating hormones.
Each day, the body breaks down and replaces bone mass, and estrogen plays a key role in this process, so that the loss of estrogen during menopause can result in more bone mass loss than can be replaced, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis.
This is the time to have a bone mineral density test to see if you need medications to slow the loss of bone mass.
Following menopause, you are at a greater risk of developing heart disease due to decreased estrogen levels. A family history of heart disease only increases the risk. See your doctor to check your blood pressure, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood glucose levels regularly.
Your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to control menopausal symptoms. HRT is excellent for symptoms of menopause but carries risks including increased risks for breast cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.
Menopause can affect sexual function by causing vaginal dryness and by decreasing libido. HRT can help, as well as keeping lines of communication open with your spouse, so they understand what you are going through.
Natural phytoestrogens mimic the estrogen found in the body. They are found in certain herbs, soy foods, and whole grains and act as a weak form of estrogen in the body, are relatively safe, and can be used instead of HRT, especially if the symptoms are mild.
If your symptoms are overwhelming, you have options, look into all possible treatments, get help and support and most important remember that it will all end eventually.