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The menopause is the biological event marking infertility in women. It usually occurs between the ages of 49 and 52 and it is represented by the ending of vaginal bleeding. However, pauses in the menstrual cycle could occur for various reasons even sooner than the age of 49, mainly due to stress, certain health affections and so on. This is why, in order to prevent any confusion or misinterpreting, menopause is only declared as a result of a year-long menstrual absence.
What it basically means is that women are no longer capable of bearing children after menopause has occurred. It is a natural process every woman will eventually go through and it is permanent. However, it does not manifest the same in everyone. Some would reach to this point of no return faster than others and also the symptoms manifested are different for each case in particular.
Also, there is some worrying aspect that has been noticed in regard to women who reach menopause earlier in life, mainly before reaching the age of 45. According to several studies, they are at higher risk of contracting heart diseases over time and are more likely to be the victims of premature death. The link between these effects and the ceasing of the menstrual period ahead of its time is still not known entirely.
What women must know is that this is not an instantaneous process. It is gradual and it builds up in time. It does not happen all of the sudden. And, in some extreme cases, menopause could even occur around the age of 30. The problem with this natural occurrence is that, in some cases, it is not as natural as it should be. In other words, certain debilitating factors could trigger the condition before its time in an artificial way. Some of these are:
- The surgical removal of the ovaries
In this case, the immediate effect is called induced menopause and it can affect every woman, regardless of age or physical condition. The surgically induced loss of menstrual cycle is irreversible and could, in some cases, cause quite aggressive symptoms.
- The effects of the chemotherapy
It usually depends on the type of cancer itself and on the type of the treatment involved, but the effect could lead to the loss of the menstrual cycle.
- Ovarian failure
This is a condition that mainly occurs between the 30s and the 40s and it is quite rare among the female population. Approximately 1 in 100 women experiences this affection, whose causes are not fully known and comprehended.
Menopause Signs and Symptoms
Like already mentioned, menopause can have different manifestations and in some cases, it can even cause extremely difficult to deal with symptoms. The most common ones include:
- Extensive and exaggerated vaginal bleeding
- Urinary disturbances
- Increased levels of irritability
- Rapid and fluctuating mood changes
- Variations in the body temperature
- Vaginal itching and a sensation of dryness
- Chronic fatigue
- Somnolence in some cases, insomnia in others
- Sometimes urinary incontinence
- Lower estrogen levels, which decreases the sexual appetite considerably (although, some women could experience a boost in sex drive – it is all different from case to case)
- Vaginal atrophy and an increased risk of vaginal infections
Aside from these, there are complications associated with menopause that may occur in some women. These include osteoporosis and an increased risk of heart disease. These potential outcomes clearly show that, in the case of exaggerated symptoms, announcing a potential menopause, women should immediately consult a health specialist in order to get the most important measures against menopause complications.
Menopause Treatment and Therapies
As you may already imagine, menopause has no treatment. It is definitive. Once installed, there is nothing you can do. However, there is the option of working on the symptoms and make the entire process a whole lot easier. Also, it is a natural occurrence and not a disease, so it is inappropriate to talk about treatments.
But there is a different situation when talking about treating the symptoms. In this regard, the hormone therapy is the most effective one to keep in mind. The estrogen levels drop significantly during menopause and the hormone replacement therapy is essential in keeping them within reasonable limits.