What is Menopause?
Menopause is a period that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. A woman will go through menopause after 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can occur in women in their 40s or 50s.
Menopause is a natural biological process. However, the appearance of physical symptoms such as feeling of warmth in the face, neck, and chest (hot flashes), as well as emotional symptoms can interfere with your sleep, decrease energy levels, or affect your emotional health.
There are many effective treatments available to treat symptoms of menopause – from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy. Contact an obstetrician through Smarter Health for further examination.
Causes of Menopause
Females have eggs from birth that are in the ovaries. The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone hormones which control menstrual periods and the release of eggs (ovulation). The onset of menopause is when the ovaries no longer release eggs every month and women stop menstruating.
Menopause is a common part of aging after the age of 40. However, some women may go through menopause early. This can occur as a result of surgery, for example the procedure to remove the ovaries via hysterectomy, damage to the ovaries, certain breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Menopause can also be caused by congenital conditions, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
When to See a Doctor for Menopause
If you suspect that you are going into menopause, contact an obstetrician. Your doctor will perform an examination and diagnose your condition based on your symptoms.
Your menstrual cycle will be a clue for your doctor. Your doctor may also check your blood for levels:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) usually increases before menopause.
- Estradiol shows how much estrogen the ovaries produce.
- Thyroid hormones, showing problems in the thyroid gland that can affect menstruation and cause menopausal-like symptoms.
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), is made in reproductive tissues. This helps your doctor study the egg reserves in your ovaries
Symptoms of Menopause
You should watch out for symptoms of menopause as listed below.
Early Symptoms of Menopause
Approaching menopause, most women will experience hot flashes, which are a sudden feeling of warmth throughout the upper body, often with blushing and sweating. These conditions range from mild to severe.
You may also notice:
- Unbalanced or missed menstrual periods.
- Sore breasts.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Emotional changes.
- Frequent urination
- Dry skin, eyes, or mouth.
Other Menopause Symptoms
Apart from the initial symptoms, there can be other symptoms that often appear before menopause, such as:
- Hair loss.
- Get irritated easily
- Joint and muscle pain.
- Weight gain.
- Fast heartbeat
- Changes in libido (sex drive).
Treatment for Menopause
Menopause does not require medical treatment. Menopausal treatments are usually more focused on relieving symptoms and preventing or managing chronic conditions that may occur with age. Treatment options for menopause may include:
Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment option to relieve hot flashes due to menopause. Depending on your personal and family health history, your doctor may recommend estrogen therapy in low doses and the shortest time frame to relieve symptoms.
If you have not had a hysterectomy, you need progestin other than estrogen. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. Long-term hormone therapy may have some cardiovascular and breast cancer risks. It is advised that you talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.
Vaginal estrogen serves to relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, and some urinary problems. Estrogen can be used directly in the vagina via creams, tablets, or vaginal rings. This treatment releases only a small amount of estrogen absorbed by the vaginal tissue.
Low Dose Antidepressant
Antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can reduce hot flashes due to menopause. It is useful for women who cannot use estrogen for health reasons or women who need antidepressants to overcome mood disorders.
Gabapentin (Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin)
Gabapentin can be used for treating seizures also proven to help reduce hot flashes. Additionally, gabapentin can help women who cannot use estrogen therapy and women who experience hot flashes at night.
Clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay)
Clonidine is a pill or patch that can help treat high blood pressure and relieve hot flashes.
Treatment Cost for Menopause
Treatment cost for menopause varies greatly depending on the method of treatment and treatment your doctor recommends. Your choice of hospitals and specialist doctor also determine the treatment cost.
To calculate the estimated treatment cost for menopause at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Menopause
You cannot prevent menopause, but you can take measures to reduce symptoms and maintain your health in the following years. It is recommended to implement a healthy lifestyle to help treat some of the symptoms of menopause and prevent the risk of complications.
This may include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced nutritious diet, and exercising regularly. These steps can also improve your sleep quality, maintain bone strength, and control your blood pressure levels.
Taking good care of yourself is the key to leading a healthy life in your menopausal and postmenopausal years.
Home Remedies for Menopause
Lifestyle changes help many women cope with menopausal symptoms. You can practice the following steps:
- Stay socially and mentally active to prevent memory disorders.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, or massage
- Maintain a healthy weight to help overcome hot flashes.
- Apply moisturizers or vaginal lubricants to overcome dryness.
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises to prevent bladder leakage.
- Avoid smoking, as tobacco can cause early menopause and increase hot flashes.
- Exercise regularly to sleep better while preventing heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
- If you experience hot flashes, drink cold water, sit or sleep by the fan, and wear layers of clothes
- Limit your alcohol consumption. This is done to minimize the risks of developing breast cancer and help you sleep better.
Have more questions about menopause? Write them down in the comment section below or contact an obstetrician and gynaecologist at home and abroad through Smarter Health.