Menopause is more than hot flashes. The termination of a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility is known as menopause. Menopause is a natural part of growing older. However, it can also result after surgery, disease treatment, or sickness. Every year, millions of women go through menopause. It encompasses a variety of symptoms, but menopause hot flashes are the most prevalent.
Menopause occurs when the body stops producing estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones that are required for fertility. Women cannot get pregnant and don’t get their period for consecutively 12 months. Menopause has a median age of 51 years, however it can happen up to two years earlier for Black and Latina women. More research is needed to fully comprehend the onset of menopause in women of color. (Healthline, 2020)
Premature menopause, also known as primary ovarian insufficiency, occurs in about 1% of women before the age of 40. Between the ages of 40 and 45, around 5% of women experience menopause. Early menopause is the term for this situation. Menopause onset is influenced by a number of variables, including genetics and ovarian health.
Menopause is preceded by perimenopause. Perimenopause is the period before menopause when your hormones start to shift. It might persist from a few months to a few years. After their mid-40s, many women begin to experience perimenopause. Other women skip perimenopause and go straight into menopause. (Healthline, 2020)
Symptoms of Menopause
An irregular menstrual cycle may be the first indicator when it begins spontaneously. It should end totally in around 4 years if it becomes off-schedule. You can also notice symptoms like lower sex attraction, mood swings, flashes of heat, sweating and pounding heart, headaches, dryness, and discomfort in the vaginal area, and painful sex. Other symptoms include depression, anxiety, dry skin, insomnia, hair loss, stiff joints, loss of muscle, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. Some symptoms might persist years and have a negative impact on your quality of life. (WebMD)
Solutions for Menopause Symptoms
Some common symptoms like mood swings, dryness, urinary incontinence and more can be treated. Hormone variations during perimenopause might leave some women feeling out of control. Increased irritation, anxiety, weariness, and depressed moods are frequent complaints make this change difficult. Relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises and massage, as well as a healthy lifestyle (including adequate diet and frequent activity) and fun, self-nurturing hobbies, may all be beneficial.
For night sweats, you can try different methods to stay cool at night like wearing lighter clothes, sipping on cool water or using a cold pack on your feet or on your pillow to reduce discomfort. Insomnia is another symptom that can be dealt with by lifestyle changes like maintaining a consistent sleep cycle, winding down with a book or soft music before bed, drinking chamomile tea and avoiding alcohol or coffee later in the day.
Menopause causes changes in sexual function by reducing ovarian hormone production, which can cause vaginal dryness and a loss in sexual performance. Some women find vaginal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers helpful to offset these changes. (NAMS)
Visit Your OB/GYN for Symptom Relief
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to treating menopause symptoms. Some women find relief from hot flashes with lifestyle changes while others turn to hormone therapy, which can be taken in the form of pills, patches, or creams. Some women find menopause treatments through alternative therapies such as acupuncture or meditation. The best way to find menopause relief is to work with a doctor to explore all your options and find the one that works best for you.
“What You Need to Know about Menopause.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 13 Jan. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/menopause#timeline.
“Menopause: When It Begins, Symptoms, Stages, Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-information.
“Five Solutions for Menopause Symptoms.” Treatments & Solutions for Menopause Symptoms | The North American Menopause Society, NAMS, www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/five-solutions-for-menopause-symptoms.