What is menopause?
Bloated stomachs, relentless headaches, and paralyzing abdominal cramps. Sound familiar? These are the most common symptoms of a woman’s period. The only good thing about those five bleeding days is the support and understanding received by other women when we snap and growl at everything and anything. Don’t you just dream of menopause already?
If you are living under a rock (or maybe just if you’re a man), you probably don’t know that menopause is what we call the period in a woman’s life where her monthly menstruation stops and she is no longer able to have a child. It comes from the Greek word ‘menos’ meaning month and ‘pausis’ meaning cessation or termination. It is not a disease, but a normal process in a woman’s life.
There is a term called peri-menopause which refers to the three to five year period preceding menopause where a woman’s estrogen levels being produced by the ovaries begin to drop. This could actually start during a woman’s late 30’s, but she will not usually experience any changes or symptoms. The moment menopause kicks in, the ovaries stop producing eggs completely.
Some women experience what they call premature menopause, wherein the menopausal symptoms make their appearance before the woman is around 45 years old and could be caused by giving birth to twins, Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, conditions concerning the enzymes of the body, contagious infections, post ovary removal, hysterectomy, chemotherapy or Addison’s disease. It is a very rare condition, as rare as its causes, in fact.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
To be more concise about what a woman is going through during this menopause stage, and to guilt men who may be reading this article into understanding and appreciating their women, here is a list of the signs and symptoms of menopause:
- The first symptom signaling the onset of menopause is the irregularity or changes in the pattern of menstrual periods. It may occur twice a month for some and maybe several months at a time for others.
- Since the ovaries’ function decreases at this point, the estrogen levels are reduced and this can lead to decreased regulation of body temperature. This is why women in the menopausal stage frequently experience hot flashes or night sweats.
- The low estrogen level also decreases fertility, thereby, removing any chances women have of getting pregnant.
- If you think all displeasures of monthly episodes of “The Crimson Tide” is over once you hit menopause, think again. One of the common symptoms is itchiness and all around discomfort. There is a decrease in lubrication around the vaginal area. So, obviously, sexual intercourse also tends to cause some pain and discomfort, leading to a decrease in sex drive.
Menopause – Treatment Options (Part 1) by AllThingsScience
- Problems with sleeping or insomnia are also common among women going through menopause. You would think that the end to menstrual cramps would mean better sleep, right? Wrong.
- Irritability. Yes, it will never go away. It is believed that the moodiness that comes with menopause is due to sleep problems. Less sleep = more mood swings.
- For some reason only God knows why, women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections during this period, causing them to experience pain when urinating and also frequent urination.
- Since estrogen is responsible for the formation of our female secondary sex characteristics, it would mean that the drop in estrogen levels would decrease those same characteristics. So, to our greatest dismay, our breasts will shrink considerably.
- As if that wasn’t enough, you can expect that carefully cared-for, luxurious hair to thin out as well.
And there you have it. These are the most common signs of a woman approaching the end of her bleeding phase into another equally uncomfortable phase. Kind of makes you want to scream out ‘UNFAIR!’ to the high heavens, doesn’t it?
How can I “treat” menopause?
However, there are a few simple ways to help make menopause more manageable. Many medications and supplements are available to help relieve your body of some of these relentless symptoms caused by menopause. But, the simplest way to take control of these symptoms is simply to stay in good health: exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, establish good eating habits, and ensure a proper night’s rest. Following these steps can make the undesired symptoms of menopause much more manageable.
Menopause – Treatment Options (Part 2) by AllThingsScience