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Menopause - The beginning of a new era in woman's life

Menopause is not the end of the world. It marks the beginning of a new era in a woman’s life. Menopause is the start of self-care, self-nurturing, and self-fulfilment.

Menopause is the physiologic transition when the ovaries stop releasing eggs, ovarian function decreases, and menstrual periods stop. Although some women go through the menopausal transition without symptoms, many have hot flashes or genital tract symptoms, such as vulvar or vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and urinary problems.

Menopause is a normal part of ageing and every woman goes through it. It can't be prevented and usually doesn't require treatment. However, some symptoms of menopause can be lessened or perhaps even eliminated with treatment. Likewise, the risk of disorders or diseases associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis and heart disease, may benefit from treatment. The loss of oestrogen may also be related to changes in cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of menopause

Every woman experiences menopause differently, but symptoms may include:

  • Menstrual cycle changes —Monthly periods may become either less frequent or more frequent in the lead up to menopause (perimenopause).

  • Hot flushes or night sweats — a sudden feeling of warmth in the neck and chest with changes to heart rate and tiredness.

  • Problems sleeping (insomnia) and/or lower energy levels.

  • Muscle or joint pain.

  • Vaginal and urinary symptoms — as the vaginal lining becomes thinner and dryer, discomfort during sex and/or the need to urinate more often can be experienced.

  • Mood changes — feel of anxious, upset, sad or angry in more situations.

Menopause symptoms often emerge before the periods stop. Symptoms may be more severe if menopause is caused by surgery or cancer treatment. Women from different cultures may also experience symptoms differently. For example, hot flushes and night sweats are more common in women from Western cultures, while Asian women report more aches and pains, insomnia and mood changes.

Causes of menopause

Natural menopause

Menopause occurs naturally when a woman’s ovaries no longer have any eggs to release, and its symptoms are caused by a drop in the levels of the hormone oestrogen. In natural menopause, hormone levels can swing from high to low as the body transitions (perimenopause).

Early menopause

Early (or premature) menopause can occur due to:

  • medical treatments that stop ovaries from functioning, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer

  • surgery to remove a woman’s ovaries (oophorectomy) to prevent or treat ovarian cancer or breast cancer

  • surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) in some cases

  • primary ovarian insufficiency due to certain genetic, autoimmune, or metabolic conditions

Diagnosis of menopause.

There is no specific test to diagnose menopause. This is based on the frequency of periods and the symptoms the patient is experiencing. Medical advice is necessary when the patient experiences irregular cycles, heavy or abnormal bleeding or symptoms that interfere the routine life.

Treatment of menopause

Most women can manage mild menopause symptoms without any medication. If symptoms get worsened, then the patient must consult the doctor.

Prescribed treatments

Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), or hormone replacement therapy, involves replacing your hormones (oestrogen and progesterone, and sometimes testosterone) to relieve menopausal symptoms. It is an effective treatment for hot flushes, sweat, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, joint aches and vaginal dryness.

There are a variety of options available to help treat the symptoms of menopause.

Treatment for Osteoporosis and Bone Loss Related to Menopause

  • Eat a healthy, low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that features lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.

  • Make sure to get at least 1,200 mg of calcium and 800–1,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D each day.

  • Avoid drinking more than one alcoholic drink per day.

  • Don't smoke.

  • Avoid consuming caffeine.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Exercise most days of the week, including exercise that elevates your heart rate, and weight-bearing exercises such as weightlifting or walking.

Treatment of Hot Flashes and Night Sweats