Menopause, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is often referred to as “the change of life.” Prior to the onset of menopause, women go through a menopause transition called perimenopause. Perimenopause begins several years before menopause. During this time, the ovaries produce less estrogen, thus preparing the body for menopause.
When the ovaries stop releasing eggs, menopause has begun. Irregular periods and hormonal changes usher in the condition, which permanently stops the female reproductive cycle. When a woman is menopausal, she is unable to get pregnant.
Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Pain during sex
- Increased anxiety and/or irritability
- Increased need to urinate
Menopause is a process. There is no clear start or stop date. Some women don’t have periods for years before they go through the ‘change’ of life. This could be because she has had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or a certain medical condition such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which prevents a woman from having normal menstrual cycles.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a common treatment for menopausal symptoms. This type of treatment utilizes bio-identical hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and even testosterone, which can come in cream, pill or injection fluid. These are taken to keep hormone levels consistent and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.
In some cases, antidepressants and blood pressure medications are given to menopausal women to help them cope. Counseling, support groups, acupuncture, herbal remedies and much more are also employed by women seeking relief from menopause. However, it’s important to note that not every treatment works for everyone. There are risks and benefits involved in each. You must talk with your doctor or a qualified medical professional prior to beginning or ending any such treatment.