Understanding Menopause

Menopause can be a difficult phase in a woman’s life. It is the stage when a woman stops having menstrual periods altogether and the amount of hormones produced by her ovaries start to decrease. For some, menopause and its symptoms can be quite severe, which is why hormone replacement doctors in Florida and all over the US administer treatments to help alleviate them.

What are Menstrual Periods?

Menstrual periods or cycles are what make it possible for a woman to become pregnant. A girl can get her first period as early as eight years old, but they usually start at around 12 to 15 years old. However, the average age of menstruation is regularly later in most developing countries.

The term menstruation came from the Latin word mensis which means month. Since it is also considered a cycle, it relies on the release of the ova during the month (or twenty eight days). An egg – or ovum or ova – is released and it waits to become fertilized by a sperm cell. Once it is fertilized, it plants itself into the uterus lining and the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the uterus flushes out the egg, together with the blood that lined the uterus, during the cycle.

This process stops during menopause; the release of eggs halts and you stop bleeding. When this happens, then the woman will not be able to become pregnant anymore.

What is Menopause?

Menopause usually begins for women during the ages of 45 to 55 years old. The age at which this phase starts to occur is commonly affected by the lifestyle of a woman, including her culture. In addition, it can also be affected by illnesses and medical treatments, including surgeries. If a woman had her uterus, ovaries, or both organs removed before the menopausal age, it is viewed that she entered menopause during the surgery or once her hormone levels started to decrease.

Before a woman officially enters menopause, her periods will become irregular, which means that they will either become longer or shorter, or they can be lighter or heavier. The symptoms of menopause vary from woman to woman; some don’t feel any, while others feel all of the symptoms (other than the irregularity) including:

  • Hot flashes, which last between 30 seconds to ten minutes. This might occur for about two years before stopping;
  • Vaginal dryness, since there is no more secretion of lubricant;
  • Sleeping problems and mood swings caused by the imbalance of hormones;
  • Painful intercourse;
  • Vaginal atrophy, where the vagina and the tissues surrounding it become inflamed due to shrinkage. This also causes decreased production of lubrication;
  • Some of the other physical changes due to hormone imbalance are acne, dry and itchy skin, weight gain, heart palpitations, and lack of energy.
  • Psychological symptoms can appear as depression, anxiety, less interest in sex, and mood swings.

Aside from these, menopause also has long term effects on a woman. Some of them are: an increased risk in heart attack, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases. However, they can easily be managed by not smoking, eating healthily, and keeping the right body weight. Women who go into early menopause, those below the age of 45, also have increased risk of heart disease.

What are the Causes of Menopause?

Menopause is of course caused by aging. In the west, the average age of women going into menopause is between 40 to 60. The age for their last period is 51 or 51.7 in Australia.

However, menopause can happen before 40 when a woman’s ovaries suddenly stop working. This is called premature ovarian failure.

Another cause is surgery; when a woman has her ovaries (oophorectomy) and/or uterus (hysterectomy) removed before reaching menopausal age, she enters surgical menopause. After her surgery, there is a complete and sudden drop in hormone production and this causes the symptoms of menopause to appear in the extremes. But if the uterus is removed and the ovaries are left, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the woman will go into menopause.

Why Should You Not Fear Menopause?

A woman will officially enter menopause when she has not had her period in a year. It is the drop in hormones such as estrogen that causes the symptoms.

In some women, menopause brings about a sense of loss, especially when other kinds of stress add up to it such as empty nest syndrome (feeling grief once her children leave home) or the birth of grandchildren, which makes them feel old.Although its symptoms can be difficult to handle, women should not fear menopause. With treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, women can now undergo this inevitable phase in their lives more comfortably.

Genemedics Health Institute is one of the top centers when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. We help countless patients alleviate the symptoms of menopause and live a healthy life. If you want to know more about Genemedics and our various services, contact us at info@genemedics.com.