Are you in Menopause?
Symptoms due to menopause often starts in the late forties to early fifties. Often the period becomes less frequent before it stops all together. The average age for menopause is 51 years of age. The female hormones estrogen and progesterone declines drastically causing both emotional and physical symptoms for many.
Climacteric is part of the ageing process when women transition from the reproductive to the non-reproductive phases of life due to the decline of ovarian function. The climacteric period includes peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause.
This the phase before the period stops. It can last up to 10 years for some women.
This is defined as the final cessation of menstruation secondary to the loss of ovarian function.
This is the time after menopause, when a woman hasn’t experienced a period for over a year. Some women do continue to experience symptoms of menopause for years after menopause.
Common symptoms in menopause
During menopause ovulation will stop, there will be no more production of the female hormone progesterone and the estrogen will decline to very low levels. The symptom caused by the low levels of estrogen vary from woman to woman. Some just have a few hot flushes, while others experience most of these.
• Sadness, crying easily
• Lack of motivation
• Feeling low or depressed
• Cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates
• Decreased sexdrive
• Night sweats and/or hot flushes
• Lighter and more sporadic periods
• Joint aches
• Dry skin
• Vaginal dryness
• Frequent urination
• Bladder irritation
• Weight gain
Menopause can come early
For some, menopause can happen more abruptly than for others. This can be caused by high stress or after surgery when the ovaries have been removed. This abrupt transition tends to cause more of a chock to the system with more severe symptoms than with a natural transition.
How do know I am transitioning from Pre menopause to Menopause?
The hormonal journey from normal hormones to postmenopause is not a perfectly straight, linear road. You can go from pre menopause to menopause and then back to pre menopause again during the transitional years. Therefor it is sometimes difficult for both patients and doctor to determine which state you are in.
Several different indicators can be used to determine hormonal state.
1. Blood test:
Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and estradiol (estrogen). During menopause the FSH will increase, and the estrogen will decline.
2. Changes in the menstrual period
The period will usually be more sporadic and lighter before it finally stops.
3. Gynecological exam
Once the estrogen declines the mucus membranes in the vagina becomes more sensitive and fragile. Due to diminished blood flow to this are the color often changes from pink to more pale.
With a gynecological ultrasound the gynecologist will measure the thickness of the uterine lining. Due to the low levels of estrogen the uterine lining will be very thin and there will be no more eggs visible on the ovaries.
The specific symptoms for the different hormonal phases will aid in the determination of current phase.