Women - You are not Alone!
Menopause is not a disease, but rather the point in a woman's life at which she is no longer fertile and menstrual periods have ceased. During this time, ovulation stops and estrogen hormones drop. Menopause can be accompanied by physical symptoms in some women, like hot flashes or night sweats. Menopause is the time point at which a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 months. Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, and the symptoms of the transition can take two to ten years. Menopause can be seen as a positive beginning of a new phase of life, with opportunities to take preventive action against major health risks.
Age is the most common factor that influences menopause. The ovaries gradually lose their ability to produce hormones and ovulate with advancing age. There are other causes of menopause, since some surgeries and medical treatments can induce menopause. These causes include removal of the ovaries, chemotherapy for cancer, and radiation therapy to the pelvis. When the uterus is removed (hysterectomy) without removing the ovaries in a premenopausal woman, menstrual periods cannot occur, but the hormonal changes characteristic of menopause will not occur.
When Does Menopause Start?
The average age for natural menopause is 51, but it can occur earlier or later. Rarely, women may reach menopause as early as 40 or as late as 60 years of age. Women who smoke cigarettes tend to have earlier menopause than nonsmoking women. There is no way to predict in advance precisely when a particular woman will reach menopause. Menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
The beginning of perimenopause to the time of menopause typically lasts two to eight years. Some women go through the transition quicker than others.
What is Perimenopause?
The transition to menopause and the time approaching menopause are referred to as perimenopause. Perimenopause means “time around menopause”. During this time the ovaries are still working, but their function has started to decrease. It's still possible for a woman to become pregnant, even if she is showing signs of perimenopause, because she may still ovulate. Estrogen levels also rise and fall during this time.
Perimenopause symptoms vary from woman to woman. Menstruel irregularity (irregular periods) is a common symptom that women may experience during perimenopause.
List of Perimenopause Symptoms
· Hot flashes
· Breast tenderness
· Worsening of premenstrual symptom
· Lower sex drive
· Irregular periods
· Vaginal dryness
· Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
· Urinary urgency
· Mood swings
· Trouble sleeping
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