Menopause is the stage that all women will undergo where the ovaries have no more eggs to release. The ovaries are the ones that produce egg cells. Every month, a mature egg cell is released from the ovary and this process is called ovulation. This continues until such time that the production of egg cells stop. This is a normal physiological process and occurs in women 45-55 years old. Since the ovaries work less, hormones also decline. The changes in hormones causes the signs and symptoms of menopause that are disturbing menopausal women.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Menopause?
The two hormones produced by the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone. The discomforts associated with menopause are dependent on the each hormone. Each hormone’s decline will produce specific manifestations.
The continued decline of estrogen levels will produce noticeable signs and symptoms of menopause. The most common complaints of women are hot flashes and night sweating. They just feel very hot and they sweat profusely. These are most evident during the first two years of menopause. Several changes to the reproductive organ take place. The vagina becomes dry and stiff. Because of this, sexual intercourse becomes painful and libido decreases. The vagina starts to atrophy and becomes smaller. This also leads to increased risk of vaginal infections due to the changes of the vagina’s pH.
The decrease in progesterone will manifest more on the psychological symptoms. Women may experience difficulty in sleeping or insomnia. Feelings of loneliness and emptiness are common. Mood changes, irritability, forgetfulness and impatience are experienced. Physical manifestations include bloating, body pain and malaise, increased weight and difficulty to hold urine.
How Can You Detect Menopause?
When you’re in the age bracket of 40’s to 50’s and experiencing these discomforts, it’s best to consult with your physician. The doctor can diagnose menopause based on the complaints of the client and with the results of few tests. The doctor will check the hormone levels to confirm if it’s really menopause. These tests include measuring the levels of Estradiol, Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing Hormone. A pelvic exam may also be ordered to determine the present characteristic of the vagina which is affected by hormonal changes.
What are Ways to Manage the Signs and Symptoms?
There are several ways to manage the signs and symptoms of menopause. For those who are really uncomfortable and affected by the hormonal changes, the doctor will prescribe hormonal therapy. Since the problem with menopause is the deficiency of hormone brought by the inability of the ovaries to produce them, supplying insufficient hormones can relieve the discomforts. Before hormone replacement is started, several tests and assessments are done to determine if the patient can respond well to the therapy. With hormonal replacements, there are several side effects and complications that may come with them. For those who have been having depression, insomnia and mood changes, medications to relieve these are given. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are prescribed and to be taken as ordered.
Aside from medications, there are several ways to manage menopause. Since it’s a normal occurrence, it’s best to do away with medications because they may even yield additional health problems. Living healthily will make your menopausal stage easy to conquer. To fight off hormonal changes, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and finding leisure time can reap you great benefits.
Avoid caffeinated beverages, alcohol, smoking, spicy and oily foods, too much sweets and sodas. Wear clothes that are light and cool. For painful intercourse, use water-soluble lubricants. Sexual activity is encouraged. Perform kegel exercises to strengthen your perineal muscle. Engage in activities you enjoy doing. Find time for leisure and relaxation. By living healthily and happily, signs and symptoms of menopause will barely be bothersome and maturing won’t even be a problem at all.