- 1 What is menopause?
- 2 When does menopause begin?
- 3 What are the causes of menopause?
- 4 Symptoms of menopause
- 5 Diagnosis and testing
- 6 What to do? Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
- 7 Physical exercise
- 8 Avoid smoking
- 9 Pharmacological treatment for menopausal symptoms
- 10 Hormone replacement therapy
- 11 Natural Remedies for Menopause Symptoms
- 12 Can phytoestrogens help?
- 13 How do phytoestrogens work?
- 14 What are the effects of phytoestrogens?
What is menopause?
Menopause is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 months.
It is a time in the life of a woman in which the ovaries stop working and there is no longer the risk of getting pregnant.
When does menopause begin?
Menopause reaches on average at 51/52 years, although in some women it can reach 30 or 40 years.
If a woman has menopause under 45 years of age, it is known as early or early menopause while after age 52 is defined late.
Menstruation can stop suddenly, when it comes to menopause.
However, it is more likely that the cycles become less frequent, with longer intervals between them before stopping.
What are the causes of menopause?
Menopause is caused by a change in the balance of sex hormones.
First, lower the level of estrogen that causes blockage of ovulation.
Estrogen is the female sex hormone that regulates a woman’s menstrual cycle .
Menopause can also be caused by other diseases or events:
- Surgical removal of ovaries,
- It can be induced by cancer treatment, chemotherapy and radiation,
- Premature ovarian failure.
Symptoms of menopause
Early symptoms begin with a decrease in estrogen that does not correspond to the onset of menopause (12 months without menstruation).
Below is a list of the main symptoms of menopause.
Most women notice some menstrual cycle irregularities that can last up to four years.
The cycle may last for up to several months or shorten up to 2-3 weeks.
A slight increase in the amount of menstrual blood loss is normal.
For some women, three consecutive months of absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) or average cycle length longer than 42 days are predictors of impending menopause.
About 10% of women have an abrupt interruption of the cycle.
Many women gain weight when they enter menopause and after menopause because your metabolism decreases.
You may need to eat less to maintain your current weight and do more exercise.
The abdominal distension ( swollen belly ) is caused by a different distribution of body fat deposited in the abdominal region compared to the hips, thighs and waist.
These are the vasomotor signs and symptoms of menopause.
Heat waves (hot or cold) affect the face, head, neck and chest and last for a few minutes.
A recent analysis suggests that vasomotor symptoms in women increase from two years before menopause until one year later.
Heat waves can cause loss of magnesium that aggravates the other symptoms of menopause it may be helpful to take an integrator.
How long do the heat waves last?
Usually passes after eight years. However, there is considerable variation among women.
Many women in menopause have trouble sleeping because of night sweats, but insomnia can occur due to anxiety .
We can note that lack of sleep makes it irritable, short-term memory decreases and the ability to concentrate.
There are several natural products and supplements that can help such as valerian , lemon balm and melatonin .
During the period leading to menopause, you may experience dryness, itching, orburning in the vagina because the walls of the vagina become thinner and drier.
This can make intercourse painful (Dyspareunia). These combined symptoms are known as vaginal atrophy.
About one third of women experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy after menopause, other women will feel it later.
In some cases, vaginal atrophy may persist for more than 10 years after the last cycle.
If you have vaginal symptoms, it is likely to continue or worsen over time, unless you have a therapy with vaginal creams or lubricants.
These may include; anxiety, nervousness, irritability, memory loss, headache , depression and difficulty concentrating.
One study suggested that a tendency to develop psychological symptoms may be related to factors such as education level, obesity and lack of physical activity.
Loss of libido
A decreased sex drive can be caused by hormone levels, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are involved.
Vaginal dryness, performance of an elderly partner, loss of their image and other psychosocial factors can aggravate the situation.
This is a disease in which the bones become thin and weak. The osteoporosis can lead to loss of height and fractures.
Among these are brittle nails, thinning of the skin, hair loss, muscle and joint pains .
It is believed that these are due to falling estrogen levels.
Changes in skin structure, including wrinkles, can develop along with the worsening of acne ( pimples on the face ) for anyone who already has.
Since the body continues to produce small levels of male hormone testosterone, some women may notice some hairs on the chin, upper lip, chest or abdomen.
Diagnosis and testing
The tests are not necessary for the diagnosis of menopause. However, in certain circumstances, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check the level of:
- Follicle – stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen, because with menopause FSH levels increase and decrease estrogen levels.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH), at menopause the LH values are higher, the normal values are between 15.0 and 62.0 mIU / ml
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) because hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid activity) can cause symptoms similar to those of menopause.
What to do? Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
The unpleasant symptoms of menopause can be reduced many times by improving the lifestyle with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Diet and Healthy Eating
Recommendations for managing the symptoms of menopause through diet are:
- Choose from a wide variety of foods, including fresh vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains and small servings of lean meat or fish.
- Increase liquids and eat dairy products with low fat content (it is best to avoid dairy products).
Increase liquid and eat nuts containing omega 3 (eg nuts).
- Reduce caffeine and limit alcohol (reduce drink consumption 1-2 or less per day).
Regular exercise is important. At least 30-45 minutes on most days of the week is for:
- Maintain a healthy heart and improve overall health,
- Keep bones healthy and prevent the loss of bone density that occurs with osteoporosis,
- There will be a sense of relaxation and well-being,
- Maybe it will help reduce the heat waves.
Pharmacological treatment for menopausal symptoms
To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogens can be administered directly into the vagina with a vaginal pill, a ring or a cream.
This treatment releases only a small amount of estrogen that is absorbed by the vaginal tissue.
It can help relieve dryness, discomfort during intercourse and some urinary symptoms.
Low doses of antidepressants
Some antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs or SSRIs) may decrease menopause heat waves. A low dose antidepressant to manage hot flashes may be useful for women who can not take estrogen for health reasons or for women who need an antidepressant for a mood disorder.
Gabapentin is an approved medicine for the treatment of seizures but has been shown to help reduce heat waves. This medicine is useful in women who can not use estrogen treatment and those who suffer from migraine .
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy actually reduces the symptoms of menopause and may be suitable for short-term use in women with moderate to severe symptoms.
10% of women have severe symptoms that last for 10 years or more, in which case the doctor may advise to continue taking the hormone replacement therapy in the long run.
It is important to check-up once a year to assess the specific risks and benefits that may arise as a result of treatment.
Long-term health risks associated with menopause
A decrease in female hormones after menopause can lead to:
Bone thinning (osteoporosis) and increased risk of fracture
An increased risk of stroke and heart disease, hypertension and stroke .
Natural Remedies for Menopause Symptoms
Some women may enjoy natural therapies, but it is important to remember that ‘natural’ herbs and herbal medicines can have unpleasant side effects in some women, such as the medicines that should be prescribed by your doctor.
A naturotherapist can give advice and guidelines for having a happy menopause.
For example, for hot flashes we recommend ginger roots, saffron flowers and a feed containing adequate amounts of zinc.
Natural remedies can often be taken with the hormone therapy prescribed by your doctor.
It is important that your doctor and naturotherapist know exactly what to do, consult your physician before starting any herbal or supplement treatments. Some natural therapies may affect or interact with other medications.
Can phytoestrogens help?
Phytoestrogens are substances of estrogen, as found in some grains, vegetables, legumes (including soy) and herbs.
They can function in the body as a small amount of estrogen.
Researchers are trying to find out if phytoestrogens relieve some menopausal symptoms and can cause dangers.
There are 3 classes of phytoestrogens:
- Soy isoflavones
- Lignans (flaxseed)
- Phytoalexin .
How do phytoestrogens work?
Phytoestrogens act in the same way as hormones, that is, they bind to the estrogen receptors that are located outside the cells. This will give the cell a signal to start some activities.
What are the effects of phytoestrogens?
Favorable effects in postmenopausal women can be seen by studying Asian women, in fact they have less heat waves because they feed on soy milk that can lower cholesterol and the incidence of breast cancer .