Menopause: Understanding The Transition

Menopause: Understanding the Transition

Menopause is a complex transition that involves hormonal changes and
can lead to various physical and emotional symptoms, however it is
worthy to note that “MENOPAUSE DOES NOT CAUSE HARM, IT
IS NOT A DISEASE OR LEAD TO DEATH.” To better understand
menopause and it’s transition, let’s explore its causes, stages, health
implications, symptoms, and management.


CAUSES

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a
woman’s reproductive years particularly estrogen and progesterone,
produced by the ovaries. As women age, their ovaries gradually become
less responsive to the hormones that stimulate egg production and
menstruation. Eventually, the ovaries stop releasing eggs altogether,
leading to the end of menstruation and fertility. It typically occurs
between the ages of 45 and 55, with an average age of around 51.
Menopause is diagnosed after a woman has gone without a menstrual
period for 12 consecutive months.

STAGES OF MENOPAUSE
Before menopause, many women go through a transitional phase which
is categorised into 3 stages. The first stage is called
PERIMENOPAUSE which can last several years and it can begin
several years before menopause itself. During perimenopause, hormone
levels fluctuate, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and a variety of
symptoms. Due to the irregularities and fluctuation of hormones there is
a possibility of pregnancy occurring, though this is a very low chance. It
is common for women to experience hot flashes, night sweats, mood
swings, vaginal dryness, and changes in libido during this stage.

Menopause: Understanding the Transition


The second stage is called MENOPAUSE. During menopause, the
ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, the hormones
responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting fertility.
This decline in hormone production leads to various physical and
emotional changes in a woman’s body.


The third stage is called POSTMENOPAUSE. Postmenopause refers to
the period after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms
often subside, but long-term health considerations associated with low
hormone levels, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease,
become more relevant. Read Also: The Power Of Positive Thinking: Boost Your Mental Health


HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
From the last statement above, There are some Health Considerations to
look out for during menopause because in some cases, menopause also
has long-term health implications. The decline in estrogen levels can
increase the risk of certain health conditions, including

  1. Osteoporosis (weakening of bones) : Estrogen helps maintain bone
    density, and its decline during menopause can increase the risk of
    osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones.

2. Cardiovascular disease: The decline in estrogen levels can
contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

3. Genitourinary issues: Decreased estrogen levels can lead to vaginal
dryness, thinning of vaginal tissues, and an increased risk of urinary tract
infections.

4. Mental health: Hormonal changes during menopause can impact
mental well-being, potentially leading to mood disorders such as
depression or anxiety.


It is essential for women to discuss their individual health risks with
healthcare professionals and take appropriate preventive measures by
identifying symptoms and managing these symptoms.

Menopause: Understanding the Transition

SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
The symptoms experienced during menopause can vary widely among
women in frequency or intensity, however there are some common
symptoms and they include:

  1. Irregular periods: As menopause approaches, menstrual cycles may
    become shorter or longer, and periods may become lighter or heavier.
    Eventually, menstruation ceases altogether.

2. Hot flashes: Many women experience sudden, intense feelings of
heat, often accompanied by flushing and sweating. Hot flashes can occur
during the day or night (night sweats) and may disrupt sleep.

3. Vaginal dryness: Decreased estrogen levels can cause thinning,
drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, leading to discomfort or
pain during sexual intercourse.

4. Sleep disturbances: Menopausal women often have difficulty falling
asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. Night sweats can
contribute to disrupted sleep patterns.

5. Mood changes: Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can
contribute to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and even depression in
some women.

6. Changes in sexual function: Reduced estrogen levels can result in
decreased libido, changes in sexual desire, and physical changes that
affect sexual enjoyment.

7. Physical changes: Menopause can cause changes in body shape,
including weight gain, particularly around the waistline. Loss of breast
fullness and thinning hair are also possible.

Menopause: Understanding the Transition


MANAGING MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS
While menopause is a natural process, there are ways to manage its
symptoms and maintain overall well-being which includes:

  1. Hormone therapy: This involves taking estrogen and progesterone to
    replace the hormones no longer produced by the ovaries. Hormone
    therapy can effectively alleviate many menopausal symptoms but carries
    certain risks and side effects, so it should be discussed with a healthcare
    provider.

2. Lifestyle changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining
a healthy weight can help manage symptoms like hot flashes and
promote overall well-being.

3. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers: These products can help
alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual intercourse.

4. Medications: Certain prescription medications, such as selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine
reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), may be prescribed to manage mood swings,
hot flashes, and sleep disturbances.

5. Natural remedies: Some women find relief from menopausal
symptoms through alternative therapies like herbal supplements,
acupuncture, or yoga. However, the effectiveness of these remedies can
vary, and it’s important to discuss them with a healthcare provider.


It’s worth noting that menopause is a normal part of a woman’s life, and
every woman’s experience can be different and unique. It is estimated
that there are over 1.5 million cases of women with menopause in
Nigeria per year so it is important to remember that menopause is not a
disease but a natural transition.

Menopause: Understanding the Transition

If you’re experiencing symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, consult with a healthcare professional who can help develop a personalized approach to manage your specific needs and offer support throughout the menopausal transition. This process will help you or any woman going through this changes in their life navigate this stage with greater ease and make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Shop at EDIDEM.COM

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