A woman is said to undergo menopause when she has not had her periods or menses for 12 consecutive months.
It marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles which means that she can no longer achieve pregnancy naturally. Menopause can affect a woman when she is between 45 and 55 years of age. However, in some cases, it can be prior to or after this age as well.
What happens during menopause?
While menopause is a biological process that is natural with increasing age, it can give rise to a number of physical symptoms that can disrupt the rhythm of daily life.
While the condition of menopause itself cannot be treated, the doctors can try to regulate these symptoms so that a woman may sleep well and have positive energy.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon and happens quite naturally in females with increasing age. This is a condition when her ovaries start to produce lesser amounts of reproductive hormones.
Estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are produced less in the body. The loss of active and strong ovarian follicles is considered as one of the critical side effects of menopause. The ovarian follicles work as structures that cause and release the eggs from the ovary wall, thus ensuring menstruation and proper fertility.
Usually, women who are undergoing menopause will first notice that the regularity of menses is becoming less consistent. The flow of the menses also becomes longer and heavier with the progression of time.
In some instances, menopause is the direct result of surgical removal of ovaries, some kind of injury or the misalignment of pelvic structures.
Some common causes associated with induced menopause are listed below:
- Pelvic radiation
- Bilateral oophorectomy, i.e. surgical amputation of ovaries
- Ovarian ablation, wherein normal functioning of the ovaries is shut down through hormone therapy, radiotherapy or surgery for women having estrogen receptor-positive tumors
- Critical pelvic injuries which can impair the ovaries severely
Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms can differ from one woman to another. Certain symptoms can be intense if the condition happens suddenly or within a shorter duration of time.
If the woman has any existing health complications like hysterectomy or cancer that affects the ovaries, it can cause the signs to become severe and last for a longer duration of time. Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking may also have the same effect.
Common signs and symptoms
- Reduced frequency of menstruation
- Vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes, flushing and night sweats
- Lighter or heavier periods than the norm
It has been found that around 75% of women tend to experience hot flashes during menopause.
There are also a range of other symptoms associated with menopause, such as
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reduced sex drive or libido
- Memory problems
- Dryness of mouth, skin and eyes
- Sore or tenderness of breasts
- Increased urination
- Hair thinning or loss
- Racing heart
- Painful and stiff joints
- Urinary tract infections or UTIs
- Reduced muscle mass
- Less full breasts
- Reduced bone mass
- Increased hair growth observed neck, face, upper back and chest
There are several complications correlated to menopause, such as:
- Periodontal disease
- Urinary incontinence
- Vulvovaginal atrophy
- Slower metabolic function
- Painful intercourse or dyspareunia
- Blood vessel diseases and heart conditions
- Sudden emotional changes and mood fluctuations
- Osteoporosis, i.e. or weaker bone mass along with reduced strength
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms associated with menopause, you should immediately get in touch with a fertility doctor who can determine the nature of your condition.
The specialist may recommend PicoAMH Elisa test in order to examine if you are nearing the stage where you can have menopause or are already experiencing one.
The test has been demonstrated to be very effective to diagnose women experiencing usual symptoms of perimenopause. Premature menopause signs involve high probabilities of osteoporosis and bone fracture, cognitive variations, heart ailment, vaginal changes, mood swings, and a distinct loss of libido.
The doctor can recommend blood tests to assess the levels of FSH and estradiol, which is a type of estrogen. If you have consistently high levels of FSH of about 30 mIU/mL or higher along with the absence of periods for around a whole year, then it shows that you have menopause.
The doctor may also recommend some other blood tests to substantiate that you have menopause, such as blood lipid profile, thyroid, kidney, and liver function tests.
The condition posed due to menopause itself cannot be treated. The doctor can only try to manage the symptoms so that you can have a physically relaxed way of life. One of the most common therapies of menopause is hormonal therapy.
Lower doses of estrogen can be administered to control hot flashes. Estrogen can be combined with progestin for women who still have their uterus. Estrogen can even stop bone loss or bone fragility.
Estrogen can be applied as a ring, cream or tablet directly on the vagina to remove signs of vaginal dryness. It can also help to experience relief from certain urinary problems and pain caused by sexual intercourse.
Gabapentin can help in minimizing hot flashes. It is suitable for women who cannot opt for estrogen therapy. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medication, which can help to lessen hot flashes.
Some doctors also prescribe Clonidine for managing hot flashes. The doctor can also use a range of medications to avert osteoporosis.
Other medications that can be used include prophylactic antibiotics to treat recurring UTIs as well as sleeping medications for signs of insomnia. The doctor may also recommend some lifestyle changes, which can bring comfort.
If you are experiencing hot flashes or other signs of menopause, you should immediately get in touch with the doctors at KIC Bangalore as it is one of the most well-known fertility clinics in Karnataka. Visit the official site of KIC Bangalore at https://kicbengaluru.com/ to learn more.
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