Menopause is not an illness, but rather a natural aging process during which a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Menopause does not occur suddenly, but usually takes up to four years. Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms from the estrogen and progesterone levels.
The ages of forty-five to fifty-five are the typical ages of the onset of menopause. Menopause begins at the age of forty-seven on average. The age at which menopause is usually complete is fifty-one.
Menopause is considered premature if it occurs prior to a woman turning forty. Is there a medical way to determine a rough estimate for one to reach menopause?
Menopause causes changes in hormone levels that can be measured with blood and urine tests. These medical tests can determine if a woman has entered menopause or is approaching menopause. Pelvic examines may be done to check for changes in the vaginal lining that are caused by menopause.
Many factors can affect the onset of menopause. Smoking cigarettes can cause a woman to experience menopause about a year and a half earlier than she would have otherwise. Genetic factors also partially determine when a woman will enter menopause. Menopause may occur later for women who are overweight or have had more than one pregnancy.
Earlier menopause may occur in women who have never been pregnant. Epilepsy, treatment for depression, and exposure to toxic chemicals can cause menopause to occur early.
Hot flahes, insomnia, night sweats, and skin flushing are common symptoms of menopause. Irritability, decreased interest in sex, vaginal dryness, and vaginal infections can also be caused by menopause.
A woman who is bothered by the symptoms may seek treatment from a physician. Hormone replacement therapy is the temporary use of estrogen supplements alone or with progesterone supplements.
Menopause is a natural aging process. Hormone replacement therapy is not designed to stop menopause, but merely to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and blood clots. A woman may have an increased risk of endometrial cancer if she has not had a hysterectomy prior to using hormone replacement therapy.
Eating soy foods, avoiding caffeine, remaining sexually active, and regular exercise are considered home treatments for menopause symptoms. Symptoms from menopause can sometimes be helped with yoga, acupuncture, or tai chi.