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August 12, 2020

Menopause: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Menopause is a natural event that will happen to all the women who are above the age of fifty years. But it can happen anytime between the ages of forty and fifty-eight. There is also surgical menopause or chemotherapy induced menopause at the time it may happen somewhat prematurely.

Overview

The most common symptoms associated with menopause is going to be hot flashes or another term might be hot flushes or if occurring at night sweats and the treatment for hot flash treatments includes making changes in the lifestyle, non-prescription remedies, or possibly prescription remedies.

A discussion with your health care provider may help determine which option would be best for you. Other menopausal symptoms include weight gain, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and mood disorders.

There are treatments for this which can include lifestyle alternations, non-prescription options as well as prescription medications. If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms talk with your physician about what’s going on and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you.

What are the indicators of menopause?

Every woman in her life has to experience the symptoms of menopause. These symptoms may become severe when it occurs abruptly or over a shorter period of time. Bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol may increase the severity of the disease and it will be difficult for the woman to manage the symptoms of this condition.

It has been observed in research that seventy-five percent of the women experience hot flashes when they are suffering from menopausal symptoms.

Common Symptoms

  • Getting difficulty in sleeping or unable to sleep
  • loss of hair or thinning of hair
  • vaginal dryness
  • less full breasts
  • sudden changes in the weight
  • reduced bone mass
  • suffering from mental health problems like depression
  • painful joints or stiff joints
  • feeling nervous all the time
  • reduced muscle mass
  • unable to concentrate on the things
  • diagnosed with urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • difficult to remember things
  • rapid heart rate
  • unable to enjoy sex or reduced sex drive
  • headaches
  • dry skin
  • dry mouth
  • dry eyes
  • sore or tender breasts
  • experiencing increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest and upper back are considered as the most common symptoms associated with menopause.

What are the complications of menopause?

A woman may experience certain health conditions after the menopause. Vulvovaginal atrophy, heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases, recurring pain in the genital area, urinary incontinence, slower metabolic function, periodontal disease, weaker bones with reduced mass and strength, cataracts, mood shifting, osteoporosis, and slight bleeding during sexual intercourse are the most common complications associated with this condition.

It is advisable to eat less and do some physical activities daily in the morning. It is better for you to maintain the current weight as weight gain is the most common symptom associated with menopause. Your physician may suggest you do some Kegel exercises as they have the capability of increasing the strength of a woman pelvic floor muscles. It is better for you to contact your primary care provider immediately when you are experiencing the symptoms of this condition.

When to consult a doctor

A woman should consult a physician when they are affected by this condition and also identifying the symptoms in the beginning stage and seeking medical attention is the best way to manage the symptoms of this condition. A discussion with your health care provider may help determine which option would be best for the woman who is suffering from this condition.

What are the causes of menopause?

The main cause of menopause is the less amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body. A woman who has undergone chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also have higher chances of getting diagnosed with this condition. It has been observed in research that only one percent of a woman diagnosed with this condition below the age of forty. Woman suffers from this condition due to primary ovarian insufficiency. This happens when a woman unable to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones.

As per health professionals, the natural decline of reproductive hormones, ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones, hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the common causes associated with this condition.

How is menopause diagnosed?

In order to diagnose this condition, your physician may ask you about the questions related to the signs and symptoms of this condition. These symptoms are enough to diagnose this condition but if you are suffering from irregular periods and hot flashes, it is advised to speak with your primary care provider or physician.

Blood tests and imaging tests are not needed to diagnose menopause. But your physician may suggest you blood tests in order to check the levels of the FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) and levels of the estrogen. These tests are mandatory to the woman who is suffering from the menopause as the levels of estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone are associated with this condition. These levels provide necessary information to the physician and it will reveal whether the woman is suffering from perimenopause or menopause symptoms.

What are the treatment options available for menopause?

There is no specific treatment for menopause and the main objective of any treatment giving to a woman who is suffering menopause is to get her relief from the signs and symptoms of this condition. A discussion with your health care provider may help determine which option would be best for you. The following are the various treatment plans to reduce the severeness of the symptoms of menopause. These treatment options include

  • Hormone therapy
  • Vaginal estrogen
  • Low-dose antidepressants
  • Gabapentin
  • Clonidine
  • Medications prescribed to treat osteoporosis

Hormone therapy

It is one of the most effective treatment plans for relieving the signs and symptoms of menopause. Your physician review with you about your family history and may suggest estrogen in the lowest dose. This therapy also helps you to prevent bone loss and there are some risks associated with this hormone therapy. These risks include

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Breast cancer

It is advised to talk with your doctor before you would like to choose this option or is it a safe option for you.

Vaginal estrogen

The main objective of this treatment option is to relieve vaginal dryness. This treatment can be in the form of a vaginal cream or tablet or ring. With the help of this treatment, you are able to release some amount of estrogen from the body which is absorbed by the vaginal tissues.

Low-dose antidepressants

Your physician may recommend antidepressants for you to manage the symptoms of this condition. It has been observed in a study that antidepressants are able to decrease menopausal hot flashes. Antidepressants are the best choice when women are unable to go for hormone therapy.

Gabapentin

It is a drug that can reduce the severeness of the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. Initially, this drug is used to treat seizures. This drug is ideal for women who cannot use estrogen therapy can take this drug. Examples of gabapentin include Neurontin and Gralise.

Clonidine

This drug is approved to treat high blood pressure and can also provide relief from hot flashes.

Medications prescribed to treat osteoporosis

Your physician may suggest you take medications that are used to treat the health condition known as osteoporosis. These medications can decrease your risk of bone loss and fractures. Along with these medications, your physician may also suggest you take vitamin D supplements.

Lifestyle Alterations

It is better for a woman to make some modifications to their lifestyle. Sometimes, medications don’t work for you to manage the symptoms of this condition. It is advised to make some lifestyle modifications and these changes can bring you new hope and allows yourself to manage the condition. The following are the lifestyle changes that you can do to reduce the severeness of this condition. These lifestyle changes include

Exercise

Getting habituated to doing physical activities regularly may help your body to protect against the following health conditions. These health conditions include

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

Sleep

Sometimes, all you need is sleep. In order to get a good night’s sleep, it is advisable to reduce the intake of caffeine, and also drinking too much alcohol also contributes to sleep disturbances.

Kegel Exercises

Doing Kegel exercises may strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and it has the capability to reduce the severeness of urinary incontinence.

Maintain a diet

It is advisable to increase your intake of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium supplements in order to relieve the symptoms such as sleep disturbances and bone loss.

Quit smoking

Smoking can severe the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and may also contribute to earlier menopause. It can increase your risk of getting diagnosed with diseases like

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer

Conclusion

Menopause is a natural problem experienced by the woman at a certain point in time. If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms talk with your physician about what’s going on and they can review with you about your family history and help you to determine what options are best for you.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25882265
  2. https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm624284.htm
  3. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/140/12/2318S/4630730
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889854511000660?via%3Dihub
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4072122/

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