What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural process that happens to every woman. It marks the end of menstruation, which happens because the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This is defined as the phenomenon of when a woman past her forties does not menstruate for 12 consecutive months.
Menopause usually occurs when a woman is approaching the age of 50 but the disorders connected with menopause may last for several years.
What is the course of menopause?
The signs of menopause are mainly connected with lower concentration of estradiol – a hormone which is one of the estrogens. A woman’s body needs to switch from regular menstruation to lowered hormone production.
Adjusting to the hormonal changes may take a different course in every woman. The symptoms of menopause may appear even a few years before the last period. Some of the below mentioned symptoms are not experienced by some women – it is a very individual matter. This is why the treatment needs to be established individually for every woman.
- hot flashes and night sweating – usually these last from a few seconds to a few minutes
- sleeplessness – difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakenings that lead to irritability during the day
- mental changes – depression, problems with memory, mood swings
- menstruation disorders – less abundant and irregular menstrual flow, bleeding between periods
- dermatological problems – flabby skin, developing cellulite, bristle nails, hair loss, acne, seborrhoea etc.
- dizziness – often connected with hot flashes and increased pressure
- weight gain – the feeling of hunger may be more frequent and it may be more difficult to lose excess weight
- vaginal dryness and loss of libido – connected with decreased excretion of vaginal mucus; this dryness may be accompanied by itching that may lead to discomfort during sexual intercourse
- painful urination, incontinence – mostly stress incontinence happening when a woman sneezes, coughs or lifts heavy objects
- chronic vaginal inflammation – dry mucous membrane makes infections more frequent
- cardiovascular ailments – connected with the loss of estrogenic protection
- osteoporosis, bone aches – connected with the rapid loss of minerals
- frequent constipations – caused by the internal changes in the body as well as by keeping a bad diet or living an unhealthy lifestyle
Remember that menopause is not a disease but a natural biological process. Menopause isn’t something to be cured - but treatment can lessen its unpleasant symptoms and help to restore hormonal balance. A doctor can advise regarding hormone replacement therapy, however not every woman can use this.
What can you do to help yourself go through menopause?
- Remember that how you experience this part of your life is up to you. If you keep looking after your physical and mental health, you may discover that menopause can be a time of new beginnings.
- Focus on yourself. This is a time when you can focus on your own needs, rediscover your partner or yourself, and focus on your passions. Give yourself the opportunity to be a positive influence.
- Keep a healthy and balanced diet – this will help you feel better and help avoid constipation and weight gain.
- Remember your body’s increased demand for calcium and vitamin D - if your diet is low in those nutrients, take vitamins or supplements.
- Look after your bladder – try to keep it free from infections; exercise your pelvic floor muscles.
- If you experience urine loss – ensure your own comfort by using discreet protection – use Seni Lady bladder control pads.
- Stay active – physical exercise will help you keep your body in shape; you will increase the happiness hormone production, and that will make you feel better. If you are not fit to exercise, be more active in your daily life – take walks, get off the bus a stop earlier and walk, use the stairs instead of the lift.
- See a doctor and don’t be afraid to ask questions – the doctor will advise you how to handle your condition and will clear all your doubts.
- Have all recommended medical tests – check your blood, urine, and hearing, have a mammogram, and visit a gynecologist - some diseases may develop during menopause but if detected early, they are easier to cure.
- Always be yourself – remember that menopause will pass, and that there are many years ahead of you to enjoy life.