What Is Menopause?

Menopause

Menopause is the end of a women’s menstrual cycle. It occurs when a when stops having her periods and can no longer reproduce.

Generally, menopause occurs post the age of 40 as a natural part of aging. However, some women experience it before the age of 40 in which case it is known as premature Menopause.

If you have any concerns about menopause please do not hesitate to seek help from a Gynecologist in Lahore or your area.

Causes

Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and menstruation stops.  Upon birth, all of a woman’s eggs are stored in her ovaries. The ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control her menstruation and the release of eggs (ovulation).  Over the years, this process slows down and ultimately comes to an end.

Symptoms

Women experience a wide range of symptoms when undergoing menopause. While some are mild, other symptoms may significantly impact everyday life. Symptoms can begin months or years before menstruation stops completely and can last unto 4 years after menopause. Common ones include the following:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweating
  • Sudden feelings of warmth in the body
  • Uneven or missed periods
  • More frequent urination
  • Emotional changes
  • Depression
  • Crankiness
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Sore breasts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Weight gain
  • Palpitation
  • Reduced libido (sex drive)
  • Dry skin, eyes, or mouth

Diagnosis

Women are often able to detect that their menopause is starting based on their symptoms and an uneven pattern of menstruation. It is helpful to discuss symptoms with a doctor for proper guidance. Blood tests may also be suggested by doctors in order to check levels of the following in the blood:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): Usually increases as you near menopause.
  • Estradiol: Tells the doctor how much estrogen your ovaries are making.
  • Thyroid hormones: Shows problems with your thyroid gland, which can affect your period and cause symptoms that look like menopause.
  • Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): Your body makes this in its reproductive tissues. It can help your doctor learn about the reserve of eggs in your ovaries.

Treatment

Since the process is a natural part of aging, most symptoms wither away with time. However, severe symptoms may be treated in a number of ways including:

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  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Also known as menopausal hormone therapy, it involves taking medication to replace the hormones that your body has stopped producing. Certain drugs or combinations can help with hot flashes and vaginal symptoms, as well as making your bones stronger.
  • Topical hormone therapy: Estrogen creams, gels, lubricants, or moisturizers that are put in the vagina to help with dryness.
  • Non-hormone medications: The depression drug paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil) can help treat hot flashes. The nerve drug gabapentin (Gralise, Neuraptine, Neurontin) and the blood pressure drug clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay) might also ease them. Medicines called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) also help your body use its estrogen to treat hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT): Therapy to help with anxiety, depression, and other emotional changes.
  • Medications for osteoporosis: Medicines or vitamin D supplements to help keep your bones strong.
  • Healthy diet and exercise: Can help with better sleep and prevent health conditions.
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises: To prevent bladder leaks.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking: For a healthier life.

While menopause is a natural process, it may result in significantly impacting everyday life. In order to deal with it properly by taking apt measure for your health, consult a Gynecologist in Karachi or your area at the earliest.