Menopause is defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s. It is a natural biological process and even though it ends fertility, you can stay healthy and sexually active. Some women breathe a sigh of relief because they no longer need to worry about pregnancy.
Even so, the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy. For some women menopause trigger anxiety or feelings of sadness and loss.
Causes of menopause
Menopause can occur because of the following reasons:
- As you approach your late 30s, your ovaries start making fewer hormones that regulate menstruation- estrogen and progesterone. In your 40s, your menstrual periods may become longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent, until eventually, you have no more periods.
- A hysterectomy that removes your uterus but not ovaries usually doesn't cause immediate menopause. Although you no longer have periods, your ovaries still release eggs and produce oestrogen and progesterone. But surgery that removes both your uterus and ovaries does cause menopause immediately, but you are likely to have hot flashes and other menopausal signs and symptoms.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can induce menopause, causing hot flashes during or after the treatment. Menopause symptoms are not always permanent following chemotherapy.
In perimenopause time you might experience these signs and symptoms:
It is possible but unusual to have menses every month right up to your last period. You are likelier to experience some irregularity in your periods. Skipping periods during perimenopause is common. Menses will occur every two to four months during perimenopause. It is possible to get pregnant
despite irregular periods.
Menopause does not require any medical treatment. Treatments focus on relieving signs and symptoms and managing chronic conditions that may occur with ageing.
Following are some of the treatment options:
- Oestrogen therapy remains the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal symptoms. Depending on your medical history, your gynaecologist may suggest the lowest dose of oestrogen needed to provide relief. Oestrogen is also useful in preventing bone loss.
- In order to relieve the symptoms like vaginal dryness and difficulty during intercourse, oestrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. Vaginal tissues quickly absorb oestrogen released by this treatment.
- Certain antidepressants like “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” may decrease menopausal hot flashes. These antidepressants are recommended to those women who can't take oestrogen for health reasons.
- Neurontin is clinically approved to treat seizures, but it has also been shown to help reduce hot flashes.
Before jumping on to any treatment option, it is best to have a consultation with your gynecologist. Review your options wisely.