Overview


Menopause is a physiological process that occurs in females. During this process, the ovaries stop functioning, usually above 50 years of age. Despite being a normal physiological process, menopause is accompanied by major physical signs that may interfere with a woman’s daily routine. This article includes the most common signs of menopause that every woman should know.


Diagnosing of menopause

A woman knows she reached menopause when her menstrual cycle has stopped for 12 months in a row. However, menopause does not occur spontaneously. Several menopausal changes should have happened before the end of a female’s menstrual cycle. The whole process occurs in three different stages: Perimenopause, Menopause, and Postmenopause.
Perimenopause

This stage could last for several years before the menstrual cycle terminates. It is the stage of menopause when the ovaries gradually stop functioning. Consequently, the production of female hormones slowly decreases. The most common sign of this stage is an irregular monthly cycle. The monthly period may come and go irregularly for months. Other signs may include:
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Decreased sexual desire.

It is worth knowing that although this stage marks the onset of the menopausal transition, a woman is still considered of childbearing age and could get pregnant anytime during perimenopause.
Menopause

When menstruation stops for 12 consecutive months, without using medications or disease-related reasons, a woman has reached menopause. At this stage of a female’s life, the ovaries stop releasing eggs, and the production of female hormones terminates.


Some common signs that accompany the menopausal stage:

Bladder control problems.
  • Decreased breast fullness.
  • Facial hair growth.
  • Weight gain.


Postmenopause

A woman enters this stage after reaching menopause. Once a female enters the postmenopausal stage, she remains in this phase for the rest of her life. Since the ovaries have stopped working, a postmenopausal woman can no longer get pregnant.
The production of estrogen and progesterone stops. Some women may experience the same signs of the perimenopause and menopause stages for years after their last period. Other postmenopausal women become physically more comfortable.


Health risk

Although some postmenopausal women do not experience any physical discomfort, low estrogen levels in a woman’s body may cause serious health conditions that develop later.
The most common health risks in the postmenopausal stage are:


Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the condition of fragile bones. Low estrogen levels in females may lead to calcium loss. This makes the bones more prone to fracture, especially the hips and leg bones.


Heart disease

There is scientific evidence that links estrogen to the production of high- density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol. This means that low estrogen levels in postmenopausal women increase the risk of heart disease.


Management

Despite being a normal biological process in women, certain precautions should be considered to mitigate any uncomfortable signs and lower the accompanying health risks. Hormone replacement therapy, healthy eating, and physical exercise help to improve any postmenopausal discomfort. It is good to always schedule check-up appointments with your doctor.





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