Menopause is a natural phenomenon that occurs around middle age and is characterized by a phase when the menstrual period in women stops and she is no longer fertile. Apart from a natural decline in the reproductive hormones, there are environmental factors such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, and ovarian insufficiency etc. that can result in early menopause. The signs and symptoms of menopauses start one year prior to the condition. The main symptoms include-
Symptoms of Menopause
Irregular Periods: The first and foremost sign of menopause is irregular periods. While some may experience frequent period others may not experience it for months.
Low Fertility: During this phase, the estrogen levels in the body drops drastically and hence, the reproductive ability goes on a stark decline during this period.
Pain, Inflammation & Vaginal Dryness: Women may experience pain during intercourse (Dyspareunia) or inflammation of vagina (Vaginal Atrophy) because of thinning of the tissues and dryness due to lack of estrogen.
Hot Flushes: Women may experience heat in their upper body particularly the face, neck, chest. They may start sweating, their heart rate increases.
Apart from these signs like night sweating, disturbed sleep, mood swings, urinary issues, decreased ability to concentrate, weight gain in the abdomen, hair loss, reduction in breast size are other symptoms that you should be aware of. Despite a know-how of all these factors, there are certain facts that you should be aware of-
1.Menopause Varies From Person To Person
Every woman go through different stages of menopause. The first stage called as Perimenopause is characterized by irregular period but they have not yet stopped. The next phase—Menopause wherein a woman have not experienced her periods for at least one year. The last stage—Postmenopause, a stage when the woman have completed the one year period without any menstrual cycle. In some women, the Perimenopause phase may last up to three years along with symptoms like hot flushes and vaginal dryness which may or may not continue in the next stages. They symptoms in every stage may vary in every woman. While some may face vaginal dryness earlier which may not be visible in others until the postmenopausal stage.
2.You Many Need Contraception
Despite the initiation of menopause in the perimenopause stage, you may still need contraceptives to avoid pregnancy as well as STDs. Studies have suggested that until the age of 50 there are still 2-3-% chances that women can get pregnant. It is advised that one should be cautious about the same and should keep a check for at least for a period of 2 years without experiencing the menstrual cycle.
3.You May Need To Consider HRT ( Hormonal Replacement Therapy)
Since your body is not producing certain hormones after menopause, it is necessary to take HRT to maintain a balance for the normal functioning of the body. Oestrogen, progestogens etc. has to be taken in the form of oral tablets, patches, gels, creams etc. which are easily available in the market.
4.Menopause Doesn’t Mean You Are Old
The onset of menopause is different in every women. In some it may come in the late 30s while others may experience menopause at the age of 60. The average calculated by the doctors is around your 50s. Hence, it doesn’t mean you are old. It’s a natural biological process just like pregnancy and puberty and should be embraced gracefully and whole-heartedly!
5.You Might Forget Things
It is absolutely normal if you forget certain things like your house keys or the names of people as the hormones are playing their game and as a result, you might struggle remembering things.