The menopause or medically called climacteric is a natural sexual phase in the older age of every woman. Despite typical complaints and symptoms such as hot flashes and sweating, menopause is not a disease. The menopause is triggered by major changes in the hormonal balance and the absence of menstrual bleeding (menopause).
What is menopause?
Menopause or medically the climacteric is a transitional phase at the end of sexual maturity in older women. It usually starts a few years before the last menstruation or menstrual period (menopause). Menopause often occurs between the ages of 45 and 70. For hypercapnia overview, please visit homethodology.com.
The menopause itself can be medically divided into four different phases.
- Premenopause:This is the period of approximately two to seven years before the actual menopause. This leads to irregular menstrual bleeding, which is often characterized by slight accompanying symptoms.
- Menopause:Menopause is the last menstrual period in a woman’s sexual maturity. After that, no menstrual bleeding is produced by the ovaries. Statistically, this phase begins in women at the age of 51.
- Postmenopause:As the name itself suggests, this phase occurs after menopause. It covers about ten to 15 years and usually does not end until the age of 70, which is also known as senium (the old age).
- Perimenopause: Within the menopause and the postmenopause, a subphase occurs, the perimenopause, which mostly covers the 49th to 53rd year of life.
So if you summarize all the phases, the maximum period for the menopause is 10 to 15 years. Strong hormonal changes occur, which are responsible for complaints and accompanying symptoms. The typical signs of menopause include about 70% hot flashes, over 50% sweating and at least 40% dizzy spells. Elevated blood pressure can also occur.
Nevertheless, there are also many women who are completely free of symptoms and do not notice their menopause physically or psychologically.
The main cause of menopause are hormonal changes in the body of a sexually mature woman. Around the age of 50, the function and production of the ovaries decreases. Ovulation stops so that no female sex hormones (oestrogens) can be produced.
After the last menstrual bleeding, which is also known as menopause, there is also a change in the hormone balance in the brain. The brain produces more follicle-stimulating hormones, which belong to the gonadotropins. Since the estrogens formed by the ovaries are less and less present in the body, but the brain forms the new hormones mentioned above to compensate, there are initially severe symptoms ( tiredness, tachycardia, hot flashes ) during the menopause, until the body adapts to the new vital ones got used to hormones.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
During menopause, many women struggle with a wide variety of symptoms. This is how hot flashes suddenly appear, which spread from the face to the neck and upper body. In addition, some also complain about dry mucous membranes in the genital area, which can cause hidden infections or pain during sexual intercourse.
Hormone fluctuations can also lead to nervousness, inner restlessness, listlessness or depressive moods. Furthermore, the menstrual cycle changes, which means that the menstrual periods are longer or shorter, and some of those affected also have heavier periods than before.
Since calorie requirements also decrease in middle age, weight gain can occur. A lot of exercise and a balanced diet help here. Hormone-dependent breast pain is also a symptom of menopause. These include breast tenderness, which can be felt on one or both sides, pulling or stabbing pain in the breast or increased sensitivity to touch.
Bladder problems are also not uncommon during menopause, as the urethra and bladder lose elasticity, which can make bladder occlusion more difficult. In addition, in middle age, the skin also changes, hair begins to fall out and nails become more brittle. Another possible symptom is a delay in the wound healing process, so skin injuries often take longer to heal.
The course of menopause can vary greatly from woman to woman. Above all, there are strong differences in the period of time and in the intensity of the symptoms. As already noted, menopause occurs within 10 to 15 years, i.e. between the ages of 45 and 70.
If there is no treatment by a gynecologist, the symptoms of menopause only decrease after about one to two years. Therefore, medical treatment should be sought, which can alleviate numerous symptoms with the help of hormone preparations. Typical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, weight gain, cramps and stomach pains can be treated well here.
Complications can occur with untreated menopause in the form of bone loss ( osteoporosis ).
During menopause, the risk of cardiovascular disease, adult-onset diabetes, osteoporosis and breast cancer increases. Due to the lack of estrogen, it can also happen that certain biochemical mechanisms of information transmission no longer function ideally. This leads to a reduced oxygen supply in the brain and, as a result, to forgetfulness, impaired concentration and limited memory.
A falling estrogen level also means that certain messenger substances are no longer produced in sufficient quantities. This leads to mood swings, restlessness, nervousness and irritability. Some women develop depression and other mental illnesses during this phase. This is usually accompanied by sleep disturbances.
In the long term, this leads to states of exhaustion and the risk of cardiovascular disease also increases. A typical complication of menopause is hot flashes, which cause severe discomfort and occasionally lead to panic attacks. Finally, sexual dysfunction can also occur during menopause.
As a result, the psychological symptoms usually increase and there is increasing discomfort. Complications can also occur in the treatment of menopausal symptoms – for example in the form of side effects caused by hormone therapy or the side effects of painkillers and tranquilizers.
When should you go to the doctor?
Menopause is a long process that causes discomfort for some women. Medical support is necessary if complications occur or the menopausal symptoms become too severe. Women who have an unusually early menopause tell their gynecologist. A prematurely falling estrogen level can promote various diseases. These include osteoporosis and arthritis. If necessary, the doctor must prescribe additional hormones.
If bleeding suddenly occurs again, a doctor’s visit is also advisable. The doctor must clarify whether the uterus is healthy. In individual cases, too much mucous membrane forms in the organ, which can cause pain and bleeding. A routine check-up by a gynecologist should be carried out at least every six months. Additional appointments should be made as you get older, especially if the menopausal symptoms persist for a longer period of time.
From the age of 45, a bone density measurement should also be carried out regularly. The values are an indicator of osteoporosis and other diseases that can occur in connection with menopause. For some women, these are chronic symptoms that require ongoing review by a doctor. In the case of severe symptoms, alternative doctors can be consulted. The gynecologist may involve a naturopath or refer the patient to a specialist clinic.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of menopause is not always necessary, as many women have no or only minor symptoms. Furthermore, the menopause is not a disease per se, but a natural life process. Still, it can’t hurt to get a medical check-up to prevent potential complications.
However, women who suffer from severe symptoms during menopause should definitely consult a gynecologist to relieve their symptoms. As already noted, the symptoms are caused by a lack of the hormone estrogen. Therefore, the so-called hormone therapy is used in medical treatment. The aim of this therapy is to compensate for hormone imbalances ( hormone replacement therapy ) and alleviate symptoms as early as the onset of menopause. Likewise, complications such as bone loss (osteoporosis) should be recognized and treated in good time.
Hormone therapy is particularly effective in treating the strongest symptoms, such as sweating and hot flashes. Despite these possibilities, risks and side effects of these hormone treatments should not go unmentioned.
These include an increased risk of developing breast cancer or having a stroke or heart attack. So it remains for the doctor and the patient to weigh up whether treatment is worthwhile or not.
In rather rare cases, disturbances of the last menstrual period also occur during the menopause. This may require an operation to remove the uterus.
Black cohosh has proven itself as a natural and herbal remedy for menopause, which can alleviate symptoms with the help of natural phytohormones. A lot of exercise and sport, as well as a balanced and healthy diet with lots of calcium and vitamin D, also help against numerous menopausal symptoms.
Basically, menopause in women cannot be prevented, as it is a natural process in life. Nevertheless, the symptoms associated with menopause can be alleviated or prevented. This includes timely examination and treatment by a gynecologist, plenty of sport and exercise throughout life and a healthy diet rich in vitamins and sufficient calcium.
Attention should also be paid to sufficient sleep, little stress, alcohol and smoking withdrawal. Mud baths, sauna and cold therapy can also have a supportive effect.
A woman’s fertility gradually decreases with age – in a natural way. However, until the bleeding has stopped for more than twelve months, the possibility of pregnancy should not be ruled out. Therefore, contraceptive measures that have been started should be continued – until the absolute end of the menopause. Various antidepressants can be used to treat depression during menopause.
If sleep disorders are present at the same time, they can also be treated with the right antidepressant. Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis due to lower estrogen levels. The reduced bone density often leads to fractures – even in harmless falls.
That is why postmenopausal women in particular should take in enough vitamin D and calcium and have them examined at regular intervals. In addition, an increasing risk of cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes) can also be assumed after the menopause. In order to minimize this risk as far as possible, the focus should be on a balanced diet and sufficient exercise.
In this way, the blood lipids can be kept in good balance. Risk factors such as obesity and smoking should be avoided if possible. High blood pressure and existing diabetes mellitus should be optimally adjusted. Regular examinations by the gynecologist should also be mandatory in the postmenopause, including both pap smears and mammography.
You can do that yourself
In the course of the menopause, some women experience symptoms that can have a major impact on the everyday life of those affected. In addition to medical treatment with hormone preparations or other medical methods, the symptoms can be alleviated by certain self-help measures.
In principle, the affected women can get help and information in special self-help groups or internet forums and exchange ideas with other affected people. In most cases, sport and exercise can relieve symptoms. Above all, learning certain relaxation techniques such as Reiki or yoga is recommended. This significantly improves the sleep quality of those affected. Kneipp affusions help with sweating and hot flashes during menopause.
Another important factor is diet. This should ideally be rich in vitamins and low in fat. Of particular importance during menopause are the unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be taken in the form of capsules. On the other hand, diets and starvation diets are not recommended during menopause, as they increase the risk of osteoporosis. It may also be advisable to stop smoking.
Menopause is a major psychological burden for many women. Therefore, additional stress should definitely be reduced. On the other hand, short trips or spa stays can have a relaxing effect.