Menopause occurs when the menstrual cycle stops, when women in their 40s or 50s failed to have their menstruation for 12 consecutive months.
Menopause is not a disease or a disorder. The body produces varying level of estrogen and progesterone hormones which affects the period. It is a natural cycle of life which signals the end of female reproductive years. Natural menopause has three stages: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
Although menopause is a normal component of aging, it still affects the physical, emotional and mental state of an individual. As the body processes this change, women may experience hot flashes, lack of energy, difficulty sleeping and mood changes. The symptoms can be managed through hormone therapy and lifestyle changes. The transition period typically lasts for 7 to 14 years.
Depending on the individual’s lifestyle, the following signs and symptoms are experienced as the menopausal transition begins:
Some women may experience more symptoms than the others. The duration and changes of symptoms may last from months to years depending on the lifestyle factors such as race, ethnicity, smoking habits and age the person starts menstruating. Often times, women will have changes in their menstrual cycle before it stops.
The menstruation will become irregular when the body transitions or in perimenopause stage. The ovaries produce changing levels of hormones that affect the menstrual cycle. Usually, the period stops for a month and returns, and then stops again for a few months and returns. Periods also typically occur on shorter cycles, making them more frequent. Pregnancy is still possible during perimenopause. Pregnancy tests are necessary to confirm whether it is menopausal transition or pregnancy.
Preventive healthcare for women includes regular check-up before, during and even after menopause as changes in the hormones never stops. Post-menopausal, a person should no longer have a period. If bleeding reoccurs, it is recommended to visit a gynecologist or a family doctor for proper diagnosis.
Health screening tests for women start with annual visits with the gynecologist. Available preventive services are breast exam, pelvic exam, colonoscopy and mammogram, triglyceride screening, thyroid testing and other tests that the doctor may require depending on the individual’s risk factors.
Maintain routine appointments with a family doctor or gynecologist to screen for medical issues to help avoid health problems in the future.
Menopause is caused by:
Menstruation is influenced by the hormones that the ovaries produce. As the person gets older or enters perimenopause, lesser estrogen and progesterone are available to regulate the period which reduces fertility in women.
In chemotherapy, it is during or after the treatment that women may experience menopausal symptoms such as irregular periods and hot flashes. However, this can be only temporary. In some women, menstruation may return months or years after the chemotherapy ends.
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