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Menopause is a natural biological process that usually marks the end of menstrual cycle and usually occurs after 12 months of last menstrual period in a woman’s life. After menopause, a woman is no longer able to become pregnant again. Menopause can happen anytime among 40 to 50-year women.
Although it stops pregnancy in women, she can still live a healthy and sexual life.

Symptoms
Women may experience following symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular periods
  • Sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Urinary problems
  • Mood changes
  • Slow metabolism and Weight gain
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Thinning of hair and dry skin

It’s very common and expected in women to have irregular and skipping periods during perimenopause. But despite irregular periods, women can still conceive.

Causes

  • Natural decline of hormones:

In late 30s, ovaries start producing less estrogen and progesterone hormones that regulate menstruation, therefore fertility is declined. During 40s and above menstrual periods may become irregular i.e. shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, less or and more frequent, until eventually no more periods at an average age of 51.

  • Hysterectomy: In partial hysterectomy, where only uterus is removed and it doesn’t cause immediate menopause. Therefore, women no longer have menstrual and their ovaries still produce sex hormones and release eggs. In women undergoing total hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy, Menstrual periods are immediately stopped and these women are likely to have hot flashes and other menopausal signs and symptoms, which can be severe, due to an abrupt change in hormones.
  • Cancer therapy: In women undergoing cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy may induce menopause and other related symptoms such as hot flashes during or after the cancer treatment.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency: This might happen in 1 percent of women and causes premature menopause before age 40. In primary ovarian insufficiency ovaries fail to produce a normal concentration of reproductive hormones either due to some genetic factors or autoimmune disease.

Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms of a woman are enough to find out the menopausal transition. A woman should always discuss her concerns about hot flashes or irregular periods with a doctor. Although there is no specific test to diagnose menopause, still in some specific circumstances, a doctor may recommend blood tests to check the levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), the level of estradiol (estrogen), and hypothyroidism. Usually, FSH levels in blood rise and estradiol levels fall during a menopausal or perimenopausal phase of a woman. Underactive thyroid can also cause menopause-like symptoms.

Treatment

There a number of effective treatments are available right from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy. All treatments aim at relieving signs and symptoms and preventing or managing chronic conditions associated with aging. These treatments include:

Hormonal Therapy: Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment for relieving menopausal hot flashes. It is recommended in lower dose according to the personal and family medical history. In women who still have a uterus, progestin is also prescribed in addition to estrogen. Estrogen helps to prevent bone loss, and moreover, it is beneficial for the heart also. It should be started within five years after last menstrual period.

Vaginal estrogen. Estrogen is helpful in relieving vaginal dryness and can be administered directly into the vagina by using a vaginal tablet, cream, or ring. It helps to relieve vaginal dryness to overcome urinary symptoms and discomforts with intercourse.

Antidepressant Therapy. Certain low-dose antidepressants can be helpful in decreasing menopausal hot flashes and mood disorder in women.

Medications for osteoporosis Doctors may recommend medications for osteoporosis depending on the individual needs that help to reduce bone loss and risk of fractures.

Exercise

A routine exercise during menopause has a range of benefits such as the preventing excessive weight gain, strengthening bones, minimizing cancer risk, and boosting mood.

For more information and queries related to Menopause consult with our experienced team of Gynecologists at Shah Hospital.