What Is Menopause? When Does Menopause Begin?
Just like infancy, puberty and sexual maturity, menopause is a natural period of female life. During menopause, the amount of follicles in the ovaries and estrogen production decreases. Soon after, estrogen production ceases and the ovaries shrink. With the end of menstrual cycle, reproductive ability is lost.
Keep in mind that early diagnosis of menopause is extremely important because most of the health damage through menopause period occur in the very first year. Early diagnosis lets you save the most valuable time.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines menopause as the permanent cessation of the menstrual cycle as a result of the ovaries losing their activity. The age of menopause varies by geography and several social factors but is generally 45-55 years worldwide. WHO divides menopause period into three stages:
Premenopause: It covers the period from the first symptoms to menopause and can take several months or years. Follicle activity in the ovaries slows down, periods become irregular.
Menopause: Starts with the last menstrual bleeding.
Postmenopause: Starts 12 months after the last menstrual period.
Types Of Menopause, Depending On The Cause Of Occurrence
Natural menopause: It is the state of being menopause as a result of the natural cycle.
Premature menopause: Menopause that occurs before the age of 45 is called premature menopause. It may occur due to autoimmune diseases, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, infections, environmental reasons, abortions and miscarriages, frequent pregnancy, obesity and hypothyroidism.
Surgical menopause: Some operations may cause premature menopause. If the ovaries of a menstruating woman are surgically removed, menstruation is interrupted and menopause develops. Radiation treatments and chemotherapy can lead to menopause too.
Factors Affecting Menopause Age
Genetic factors: It is observed that women with premature menopause family story usually go through menopause earlier.
Genital factors: Women having irregular menstruation enter menopause earlier than those with regular menstruation. Fertility status, first menstrual period, birth control pills, and breastfeeding for more than two years may affect the age of menopause.
Psychological factors: Psychological traumas and crisis times (war, migration, earthquake and long prison life) accelerate the development of menopause.
Physical and environmental factors: Menopause age is earlier in women living in cold climates and extremely severe conditions.
Smoking: Heavy smoking may make you go through menopause 1-2 years earlier.
General health status: Severe metabolic diseases, genetic disorders, infectious diseases, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may affect the age of menopause.
Social factors: Women from rural and traditional societies enter menopause earlier.
Signs That You Are Going Through Menopause
The signs below may be natural indicators that you are going through menopause. If you are above 40 and observe some of these, it’s time to visit a gynecologist.
– Menstrual irregularities
– Decreased ovulation
– Hot flashes
– Excessive sweating
– Depressed mood
– Inability to sleep
– Nervousness, irritability
– Increased appetite
– Difficulty concentrating
– Facial flushing
– Increase in heart rate
– Headache, dizziness
– Hot flashes
– Low self-confidence
– Decreased sexual desire
What Health Problems Occur After Menopause?
After a long-term estrogen deficiency, atrophy (shrinkage) is seen in the genital organs. The uterus, vagina, vulva and urethra shrink. As a result, frequent urination, constipation, itching in the vulva, painful sexual intercourse, uterine prolapse, urinary incontinence, sagging of the urinary bladder, sagging of the anus may occur.
Estrogen is also a key hormone for skin, hair follicles, and sweat glands. After menopause, the skin becomes thinner, dries out and loses its elasticity, the amount of collagen decreases. The amount of hair reduces. Thick hair may appear on the chin, around lips and chest. The amount of hair in the armpit and genital area reduces.
Dry mouth, bad taste in the mouth and gum diseases become more frequent. Constipation and piles are common. Reflux and gallstones are also common.
The risk of developing heart disease in women increases with menopause. Since estrogen is a hormone that reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases, the risk increases with menopause. Also cholesterol level increases with menopause. High blood pressure may occur. Atherosclerosis is seen.
Another important problem seen with menopause is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis invites fractures as a result of decreased bone mineral density. Menopausal women lose 3-4% of their bone mass each year. Also the metabolic rate slows down and weight gain is observed.
Sexual Life in Menopause
Sexual life does not end with menopause, however due to the lack of estrogen, there is shrinkage in the genitals. As a result, pain may be felt during sexual intercourse. Your doctor can prescribe medications to avoid this pain.
Best Treatment for Menopause
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Don’t let menopause be the end of quality of life. If you or a beloved one need assistance during menopause, contact us and get professional advice. Get the most affordable health service in Turkey, with the assistance of dedicated experts.