Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual periods. All women who live long enough should eventually experience menopause. The official start of menopause is declared when a woman has gone twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period. The average age for menopause is 51. But what exactly goes on in a women’s body during menopause? It has a simple explanation. During menopause, a woman’s hormone production drops below the level required to continue her periods. For instance; during menstruation, female sex hormones (like estrogen and progesterone) rise and fall with regularity. At the time of menopause, the cessation of menses changes the rate and patterns of hormone release.
Unfortunately, menopausal symptoms are not the same for every woman, and as already known, menopausal symptoms can also be very uncomfortable. While some women might welcome the end to their monthly cycles (because of uncomfortable bloating, and many other inconveniences) others suffer it, because they find that menopause decrease their sexual libido, changes their mood, causes hot flashes, and sometimes it can even mean a start to bone and heart complications.
Most women experience some or all the following menopausal symptoms:
- Irregular Periods
- Weight gain
- Loss of sex drive
- Tender breasts
- Fibrocystic Breasts
- Uterine fibroids
- Fluid retention
- Irritability (Mood Swings)
Menopausal Symptoms Prevention
To help prevent this kind of problems, many women choose to take an estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to replace what their body is no longer producing.
Unfortunately, many of these treatments have proven to worsen heart problems and to have many other negative effects for women. Therefore the fact to take on consideration when choosing a treatment plan for menopause is to assess the patient’s risk for developing diseases associated with menopause, (specially heart disease and osteoporosis). Women at moderate to high risk for these diseases seem to be considered good candidates for drug therapies, along with natural therapies to treat the more benign symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and low libido. Most women at low risk can be candidates for entirely natural treatment plans; it is always recommended that they are supervised by their physicians.
As for most hormonal-related conditions; healthful diets, regular exercise, good sleep, and the addition to nutritional supplements and natural medicines can greatly reduce the risk of disease and uncomfortable symptoms, while dramatically boosting your health.
For some women menopause happens suddenly (for example after breast cancer treatment, or after ovary removal), leading to uncomfortable side effects, some women claim it feels like a disease even worse than breast cancer.
There are also different kinds of menopause. It is important to figure out and understand which of the kinds of menopause you are going through. The following are the three most usual menopause kinds.
– Natural menopause, a normal part of the aging process
– Medical or surgical menopause that is the result of chemotherapy or ovary removal
– The “Cold Turkey” menopause that is the result of being taken off menopausal hormone therapy after you was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Fortunately for most women there are ways to manage menopausal symptoms which can give them the option to live a very comfortable life.
The most recommended option starts with a change in life-style. This very repetitive (but effective) recommendation is the first step to take when trying to get rid of all those uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. For instance, start by
- Changing your diet (increase calcium and other supplements available that can help your body get strength for this transition, and also avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods which can help prevent hot flashes.),
- Get a good sleep (sleep the always recommended 7-8 hrs!),
- Exercise Regularly (especially cardio to help protect your heart), and
- Stop smoking if you do.