Menopause is a medical condition occurring for older women around the age of 45 to 55. During menopause, the woman will no longer get menstruation (periods) and her body will go through the changes typical of women aging, where she is no longer able to get pregnant. It is a natural time for every woman to experience and is only a natural part of aging. No complications are involved though many signs and side effects can be uncomfortable during menopause.
Causes of Menopause
When you go through menopause, your ovaries stop making eggs every month and produce much less progesterone and estrogen hormones. When these hormone levels change, you will begin to experience the classic menopause symptoms. At first, your periods occur less often and they will eventually stop altogether. For some women, it happens suddenly while for others, it is more gradual. If you have not had a period for a year or more, you are in the post-menopause state where you are no longer able to get pregnant because your body is no longer producing or releasing eggs. The main cause of menopause is aging, as it is common among women between 45 and 55. There is also something called surgical menopause in which the medical treatments may cause a drop in the hormone estrogen.
Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause can vary depending on the woman and can last 5 years or longer. As with most other things, the severity and longevity of the symptoms vary from woman to woman. The first sign is a change in periods length and time between periods. Other symptoms of menopause include a pounding or racing heartbeat, hot flashes, night sweats, skin flushing, and insomnia. Other potential symptoms include a low sex drive, forgetfulness, headaches, irritability, anxiety, depression, urine leakage, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, vaginal infections, joint aches and pains, or heart palpitations.
Diagnosing menopause includes checking for hormone level changes which can be done with a blood or urine test. Other tests that help doctors diagnose menopause include an LH test, FSH test, or Estradiol test. A pelvic exam will also be performed as low estrogen levels can cause changes in the lining of your vagina. A bone density test may also be ordered. Treatment may be desired if you want to lessen the side effects of menopause, including hormone therapy, certain medications, and lifestyle changes. The effectiveness of these treatments depend on the individual and overall health.