Archive for the ‘Menopause’ Category

Menopause: Overview

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

menopause.jpgThe menopause, also called the change of life, is defined as the end of the last menstrual period. It occurs on average at 51 years, but there is a wide range of normal extending from your 30s to 60s.

The menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer respond to the controlling hormones released by the pituitary gland of the brain. As a result, the ovaries fail to release an egg each month and to produce the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

It is the fall in the levels of these hormones in the bloodstream that gives rise to the symptoms of menopause.

Signs & Symptoms of Menopause

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

There are many possible signs of menopause and each woman feels them differently. Most women have no or few menopausal symptoms while some women have many moderate or severe symptoms.

The clearest signs of the start of menopause are irregular periods (when periods come closer together or further apart), and when blood flow becomes lighter or heavier.

menopause-symptoms.gif

Other signs may include some of the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Bowel upset
  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Mood swings
  • Urinary tract infections

Diagnosis of Menopause

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

There are telltale symptoms, such as changes in menstrual pattern and the onset of hot flashes, which offer diagnostic clues.

Menopause is suspected when there is a long interval without periods in a woman around the age of 50, particularly if a woman has hot flashes or a low estrogen profile. The low estrogen profile can be discovered during a physical examination by means of an atrophic vaginal smear, the absence of vaginal mucus, or an atrophic endometrium (diagnosed by a biopsy).

Menopause Treatment

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Menopause is not a disease that has a definitive cure or treatment. Health care providers, however, can offer a variety of treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms that become bothersome. Many prescription medications exist to prevent and control high cholesterol and bone loss, which can occur at menopause. Some women do not need therapy, or they may choose not to take medications at all during their menopausal years.

Benefits and Risks of Menopause

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Benefits

  • Reduces drying and thinning of vaginal tissue
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Eliminates hot flashes in some women
  • Improves energy, mood, and sense of well-being
  • Improves levels of “good” cholesterol
  • May restore sexual desire
  • May reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • May reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
  • May improve concentration and memory

Risks

  • May cause symptoms like PMS
  • May increase risk for breast cancer
  • May have other undesirable side effects,
  • Decreases insomnia including – vaginal bleeding, bloating, nausea, loss of hair, headaches, itching, increased cervical mucus, and corneal changes that prevent the use of contact lenses
  • May increase the risk of heart disease in certain women

Menopause : Signs and symptoms

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Every woman experiences menopause differently. Even the age at which menopause begins may be unique to you. Some women reach menopause in their 30s or 40s, and some not until their 60s, but menopause most often occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

Your signs and symptoms also are likely to be very individual. You may breeze through menopause with few signs and symptoms. Or you may experience a number of physical and emotional changes, including:

# Irregular periods. Your menstrual periods may stop suddenly, or gradually get lighter or heavier and then stop. The unpredictability of your periods may be your first clue that menopause is approaching.

# Decreased fertility. When ovulation begins to fluctuate, you’re less likely to become pregnant. Until you haven’t had a period for a year, however, pregnancy is still possible.

# Vaginal and urinary changes.

# Changes in appearance.

# Emotional and cognitive changes.

Menopause – Types and Stages

Friday, August 25th, 2006

The whole Menopause transition varies from woman to woman. Depending on this it can be divided into four main stages

Premenopause - this refers to entire normal reproductive period of a woman’s life from the time of the first menstruation cycle to the last regular menstrual period.

Perimenopause - this refers to the transition phase when a woman passes from regular periods to irregular periods and happens for a few months or years before attaining full stoppage of menstruation. It is usually experienced by women from 35 to 50 years of age. During this stage a there are hormone fluctuations and this causes the typical menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.

Menopause – this itself refers to a stage when the women’s reproductive life comes to an end and a woman can no longer get pregnant naturally. At this point the ovaries stop producing eggs and the menstruation cycle stops permanently. The two reproductive hormones – estrogen and progesterone production decreases permanently to low levels

Postmenopause – refers to the period in a women’s life after one year from the time of the last menstrual cycle. From here a woman will be postmenopausal for the rest of her life.

Premature Menopause and Male Menopause

Menopause usually comes after the age of 45 years but some woman experience it sooner i.e. before the age of 40 and this is called ‘Premature Menopause’.

In this context it should be mentioned that although there is nothing like male Menopause or now called Andropause but some men do experience similar symptoms that women experience in Menopause.

Menopause is a natural biological process, not a medical illness

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Menopause is a natural biological process, not a medical illness. Although it’s associated with hormonal, physical and psychosocial changes in your life, menopause isn’t the end of your youth or of your sexuality. Several generations ago, few women lived beyond menopause. Today, you may spend as much as half of your life after menopause.

Hormone therapy (HT) has been widely used in recent decades to relieve the signs and symptoms of menopause and — doctors thought — to prevent diseases associated with aging. However, new long-term evidence has demonstrated that HT may actually increase your risk of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, breast cancer and stroke.

Estrogen therapy is still a safe, short-term option for some women, but numerous other therapies also are available to help you manage menopausal symptoms and stay healthy during this important phase of your life.