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Menopause is an unavoidable time of a woman’s life signifying the conclusion of reproductive abilities, bringing the numerous cycles of menstruation to a final end. The woman’s body will undergo various changes as menopause approaches, as well as just after the process is complete.
The Causes of Menopause
The ovaries are a safe haven of the unending quantity of eggs which a woman has from the time of birth. Estrogen and progesterone is produced in these ovaries, as well, regulating menstrual cycles and ovulation.
There are two types of menopause known as natural menopause and premature menopause. If a woman reaches her 40’s, and her body’s changes begin naturally as her menstrual cycles begin to diminish, she is experiencing natural menopause. Premature menopause occurs due surgical procedures, ovarian damage from cancer treatment, or hysterectomy. If menopause happens before the 40’s come about, a woman can be sure she is experiencing premature menopause.
When menopause is not initiated from unnatural circumstances, the gradual process is natural for a woman. The progression of this process is categorized in three phases known as perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Perimenopause will begin many years before the actual menopause. Reason being, estrogen production is lessened on a gradual basis. The closer a woman gets to menopause, however, the more rapidly her estrogen level will decrease. When menopause actually occurs, a woman’s ovaries will no longer release eggs. The dreaded hot flashes, and other physical symptoms, will increase for many. During postmenopause, the time after the menopause, a woman becomes more at risk of various health issues in relationship to her lack of estrogen. However, other symptoms such as the hot flashes will begin to subside at this time.
One of the most common symptoms of the whole menopausal process is hot flashes. An uncontrollable flow of heat will overwhelm the woman, even during frigid temperatures. The severity of this symptom varies or women. Along with hot flashes, some may or may not experience irregular periods, or sporadic months in which she will miss a period. Moodiness and insomnia are also common to many along with depression, irritability, and feelings of exhaustion. Some women face physical symptoms such as aches and pains of muscles and joints, headaches, and heart palpitations. Lack of libido and vaginal dryness is a problem for many, as well.
Signs of Menopause
A woman is usually in tune with her body. When something seems to be different or changing, a doctor can appropriately confirm that menopause is the reason. By a blood test known as the FSH level, or follicle stimulating hormone level, a doctor will validate suspicions. Additionally, a physical exam including a vaginal assessment and pap test, will corroborate with the lab results that a woman is, indeed, experiencing menopause, and at what stage she is at in the process.
Health related issues, which are associated with a lack of estrogen, include heart disease, osteoporosis, aging skin, lack of muscle tone, vision changes, and bladder or bowel insufficiencies. There are preventative treatments to lessen the risk of these conditions.