What is menopause?
Menopause is a normal biological phenomenon. It marks the end of woman’s menstrual cycle, meaning she cannot become pregnant naturally anymore. Menopause is confirmed only when a woman does not menstruate for 12 consecutive months. Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age, with average of 51 years, though it can happen before or after that.
Menopause is a natural process, but may present with premenopausal uneasy symptoms like, hot flashes, mood swings, menorrhagia or metrorrhagia, etc, that may severely deteriorate the quality of life of a woman.
Women may also experience menopause due to some medical conditions like, hysterectomy, chemotherapy, premature menopause due to hormonal insufficiency.
Menopause usually do not require any treatment, however, if symptoms become worse, medical intervention may be needed for the management.
The menopause causes include-
- Natural decline of hormones, that may start in late 30s. The menstrual abnormalities keep increasing till there are no more production of eggs, and the monthly periods come to an end.
- In the case of hysterectomy, if only uterus is removed, woman may not experience immediate menopause, as the ovaries still keep producing eggs. In the cases of total hysterectomy and oophorectomy, where ovaries are also removed with the uterus, there is immediate menopause, with all the symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings etc. The woman may experience much severe symptoms in this case as compared to normal natural menopause, as the fall of hormones happen abruptly.
- Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can induce menopause with all the associated symptoms. This may happen during the course of treatment or shortly after the therapy is finished.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency may lead to premature menopause in women before the age of 40. This happens due to insufficient production of female hormones, which may result from any autoimmune diseases or genetic factors, but often no reason can be found.
Sign and symptoms
Every woman experiences different sign and symptoms of menopause. The symptoms are more severe, if menopause happens suddenly or abruptly.
Generally, the symptoms experienced are similar during perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
The common symptoms of perimenopause include-
- Heavier or lighter periods as compared to normal
- Reduction in frequency of menstruation
- Hot flashes, night sweats and flushing
Hot flashes is the most common symptom experienced by women during menopause.
During menopause, women may experience symptoms like-
- Dryness in vagina
- Weight gain
- Difficulty in concentration
- Dryness of skin, mouth, and eyes
- Reduced libido
- Increased frequency of urination
- Memory loss
- Tenderness of breasts
- Frequent UTIs
- Dwindling of breasts
- Thinning of hair and hair fall
- Increased hair growth on face, neck, chest.
The possible complications of menopause include-
- Vulvovaginal atrophy
- Painful intercourse
- Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases
- Urinary incontinence
- Slower metabolic functions
- Mood swings and emotional changes
- Periodontal disease
- Weight gain
The sign and symptoms of menopause are very evident and do not require any particular test to make a diagnosis. The woman herself knows that she has entered the phase of menopause. However, doctor may advice for some confirmatory tests and to rule out the possibility of any other medical conditions, that may be responsible for menopause, like-
- Tests for the levels of FSH and oestrogen in the blood. During the menopause FSH level increases and oestrogen level falls.
- Thyroid profile, as in the case of hypothyroidism, symptoms are similar to menopause
For mild symptoms during menopause, any specific medications are not required. If the symptoms become worse, and start interfering with everyday activities of a woman, homeopathic medicines are the best choice of treatment for the management of symptoms.
Symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings can be very much reduced with the homeopathic medicines. Along with treating the physical symptoms, homeopathy also helps a woman to cope up with the anxiety and depression that this phase of life may bring on for some women.