8 Things Men Need to Know About Menopause
What is the Menopausal Transition?
Menopause is a natural biological change in women’s reproductive system. It occurs when estrogen levels drop and progesterone levels rise. During menopause, many women experience changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite, energy level and sexual function. Some women are able to have children again after menopause. Others may not be able to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term.
The transition from premenstrual (pre-menopause) to post-menopausal (post-menopause) is often referred to as the menopausal transition. The symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and weight gain. Women with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid problems may experience other symptoms.
Why is it Important to Understand Menopause?
Understanding menopause helps you understand your own body better and how it functions during different stages of life. Understanding the causes of these changes will allow you to take steps to improve your health and well being. Many women find that menopause causes drastic changes in their quality of life.
Since lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on how your body functions, it’s important to make smart choices during this time. When you understand menopause, you can take steps to improve your health and well being.
This article contains a collection of the most essential information about menopause: its causes, effects, symptoms and treatments.
What are the Common Causes of Menopause?
Menopause is caused by naturally declining levels of estrogen and progesterone over time. This occurs in all women regardless of their age.
The average age of menopause in women is 51, but it can occur as early as your late thirties or as late as your early fifties. The average age of menopause in the US is fifty-one. It is most common for menopause to occur in your mid-forties.
Menopausal transition, sometimes referred to as perimenopause, occurs when the ovaries begin producing less estrogen. This typically happens a few years before menopause begins. During this time, you may experience irregular periods, lasting from three to nine months at a time without a period.
There are many risk factors that contribute to early onset menopause. These factors include certain surgeries, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Certain autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems and blood disorders may also cause early onset menopause.
What are the Effects of Menopause?
Menopause brings an end to fertility in women. It also affects the way a woman’s body produces and maintains bone mass, makes them more susceptible to heart disease and affects their mood. Women are especially prone to depression during menopause, and it can last several years.
It is important to monitor your bone health during this time as a decrease in estrogen can cause bones to become weak and brittle. Menopause is also a risk factor for osteoporosis. All women are advised to exercise, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and limit their alcohol intake.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
Not every woman experiences the same symptoms of menopause. Some women may experience some of these symptoms while others may not experience any at all.
The most common early symptoms of menopause are:
Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
If you are experiencing heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding contact your doctor immediately. This may be a sign of a more serious condition.
Other symptoms of menopause can include:
Depression or mood swings
Osteoporosis (bone fractures)
What are the Treatments for Menopause?
The only way to treat menopause is to treat the symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common treatment for menopause. The most popular treatment is a combination of estrogen and progesterone, usually in the form of a pill.
If you are experiencing depression related to menopause, antidepressants are commonly used to treat it, although they have limited success. A change in diet and exercise may also improve your mood.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
Some symptoms of menopause are non-life threatening but should still be checked by a doctor. Seek emergency medical treatment if you are experiencing heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding. This could be a sign of uterine cancer or another potentially dangerous condition.
Most women will experience menopause at some point in their lives. Some women may experience more severe symptoms than others. Menopause is a natural process, so there is no way to prevent it from occurring.
Menopause can be a trying time for some women. Changes to your body can be frustrating, especially if you are in the middle of an important career path or phase of your life. There are many risks for health problems that accompany menopause and it’s important to take care of yourself during this time.
“I’ve been going through menopause for a couple years now and some days are better than others. One day I woke up and felt like my old self again, so I went out and bought a new car! Of course my husband was upset that I just blew all of our savings, but it made me happy so it was totally worth it!” Veronica L.
“I was going through menopause and my hair started falling out. I was freaking out because I take great pride in my hair! So I decided to try some of that hair growth cream that they advertise on TV. It cost me $200 and it didn’t work at all! Now I have no money and no hair.” Karen O.
Sources & references used in this article:
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8 Facts About Estrogen That’ll Change The Way You View “The Change” by MJ Minkin, CV Wright – 1997 – Yale University Press
Women’s experience of menopause: a systematic review of qualitative evidence by HI Works – equelle.com
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The change before the change: Everything you need to know to stay healthy in the decade before menopause by LA Kittell, PK Mansfield… – Qualitative Health …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com
Managing menopause: A qualitative analysis of self-help literature for women at midlife by L Corio – 2013 – books.google.com
Integration of women veterans into VA quality improvement research efforts: what researchers need to know by AC Lyons, C Griffin – Social Science & Medicine, 2003 – Elsevier
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