What is menopause?

Menopause - so called "the change of life." It is normal part of woman’s life when her menstrual period ends and she can no longer become pregnant.

Menopause is a gradual process that can take several years. This often happens between the ages of 45 and 55. A woman often goes through menopause at about the same age as her mother. You're not really through menopause until you haven't had a period for 12 months in a row and there are no other causes, such as pregnancy or illness.
In the years leading up to menopause and during menopause, a woman's body (particularly her ovaries) slowly makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone - the hormones that regulate woman’s menstrual cycle.

Women who have both ovaries removed will go through "surgical menopause" at the time of their surgery, however, when only the uterus is taken out, a woman will stop having periods, but she won’t go through surgical menopause.

What is premature menopause?

Menopause is called "premature" when it happens at or before the age of 40. This condition  could be due to natural course, a family history of premature menopause or brought on by medical means, such as:
- Medical treatments, such as surgery to remove the ovaries
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation to the pelvic area
Having premature menopause puts a woman at more risk for osteoporosis later in her life.  It is also a source of enormous distress for those who still want to have children.

What is postmenopause?

Postmenopause, literally, the term means after the menopause, or the stopping of periods. To be more precise, This condition occurs when a woman hasn’t had a vaginal bleed for one year, whether your menopause was natural or brought on by treatment for a condition.

Does menopause cause bone loss?

Both men and women lose bone as they grow older. Nevertheless, dropping estrogen levels (which helps to build and maintain bones) in the time of menopause leads to bone loss in women. After menopause, bone loss speeds up for several years as estrogen levels rapidly decrease. Bone loss can cause bones to weaken and weak bones can break more easily. This condition is called osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause affects every woman differently. It might happen that the only symptom may be when your period stopping, however, different woman may have other symptoms, too. Many symptoms at this time of life occur because you are getting older. It is hard to identify if symptoms are related to aging, menopause, or both. Most women experience common signs and symptoms of menopause, such as the following:

  • Change in your menstrual cycle. This is one of the first signs of menopause. They can be shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, or there may be more or less time between periods.
  • Hot flashes. Hot flashes are known as the most common symptom of menopause. You may feel warm from your chest to your head, often in wave-like sensations. They also occur as a night sweats, followed by a chill. Sometimes it can be followed by feeling sick to your stomach and dizzy. You may also have a headache and feel like your heart is beating very fast and hard.
  • Vaginal dryness. During and after menopause, the skin of your vagina and vulva becomes thinner and loses its ability to produce lubrication during sexual arousal. These changes can lead to pain during sex.
  • Urinary tract problems. It is more likely to have bladder and urinary tract infections during and after menopause.
  • Headaches, trouble sleeping and tiredness. Trouble sleeping and feeling tired may be caused by hot flashes and night sweats that disturb your good night’s rest.
  • Weight gain. Many women gain weight during menopause. That is why you need a healthy diet and exercising that will help keep you fit.
  • Mood swings, feeling crabby, or crying spells. Women who had mood swings (PMS) before their periods or postpartum depression after giving birth may have more mood swings around the time of menopause. These are women who are sensitive to hormone changes. Often the mood swings will go away with time. Getting enough sleep and staying physically active will help you to feel your best. Mood swings are not the same as depression.
  • Trouble focusing, "fuzzy thinking," or forgetfulness. Some women complain of these symptoms in midlife. However, it has been shown that natural menopause has little effect on memory or other “brain” functions. Also, getting enough sleep and keeping physically active might help improve symptoms.
  • Hair loss or thinning on your head or more hair growth on your face. It happens because of the loss of estrogen level in your body. This condition leads to growth of testosterone level. 

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