All About Menopause
Menopause is the time of a woman’s life that marks the end of her menstrual and fertility cycles. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, but it generally occurs between the ages of 40-59. Menopause will occur naturally with age, or it may sometimes be caused by surgical intervention of removing ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Menopause is diagnosed once a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. It will often occur over a few years as the body is transitioning into menopause. Menopause occurs as the levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to change. This can result in symptoms that may be uncomfortable for some. It is best to see your OBGYN, as they can help you through this time with advice and treatment.
Symptoms of Menopause
Some of the symptoms you may experience during menopause are:
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Disturbed sleep
- Irregular periods – either very heavy or not at routine intervals
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Less full breasts
- Hair thinning or loss
Due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body, some women may also develop depression.
Why Does Menopause Occur?
Menopause is a process that occurs when your ovaries age and produce less hormones. The body begins to change as you have lower levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
Initially, you may see the start of menopause with changes in your monthly menstrual cycle – the frequency may decrease, but the flow is heavier and lasts longer.
Natural Remedies to Help with Symptoms
It is important to consult your OBGYN, as he/she may be able to prescribe medications or creams that help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause.
However, you can seek relief at home too by following a few of these ideas:
- Keep cool and comfortable – wearing loose, layered clothing can help you to cope with hot flashes. Also, try keep your bedroom cooler at night, and avoid heavy blankets if you are prone to night sweats. You can also carry around a small portable fan for those moments when you really need a breeze to cool off.
- Exercise – adding 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, even walking, can help to increase your energy, promote better sleep at night and improve and stabilize your moods.
- Vitamin supplements – taking additional vitamin D, calcium and magnesium can help to improve energy, mood and sleep as well as help to prevent osteoarthritis.
- Communicating your needs – as your moods may be affected by menopause, it is important you have physical and emotional support around you. Whether this is family, friends, or a professional therapist, it is important that you have someone to talk to.
There are many simple things you can do to help yourself, but seeing a health professional is important too. They will assist you and guide you towards the best treatment for you.