Menopause is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. The term can describe any of the changes you go through just before or after your period stops, marking the end of your reproductive years. Although menopause is a natural biological process, the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms can disrupt your sleep, decrease your energy, or affect your emotional health. 

Menopause

What is menopause? 

Women are born with all their eggs stored in their ovaries. Their ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control their periods (menstruation) and the release of eggs (ovulation). Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop releasing an egg each month and menstruation stops. 

Menopause is a normal part of aging if it occurs after age 40. However, some women may experience menopause earlier. This may be the result of surgery, such as having the ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, or damage to the ovaries, such as chemotherapy. If it occurs before the age of 40 for any reason, it is called premature menopause. 

What are the symptoms of menopause? 

Most women approaching menopause experience hot flashes, sudden feelings of warmth that spread throughout the upper body and are often accompanied by blushing and sweating. These hot flashes can be mild in most women and severe in others. There is more to menopause than hot-flashes. 

You may also notice:

  • Uneven or missed periods
  • Dryness in the vagina
  • Sore breasts
  • More frequent urination
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Emotional changes
  • Dry skin, eyes or mouth 

Later symptoms often include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Crankiness
  • Racing heart
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in libido (sex drive) 

What can cause premature menopause? 

Some immune system disorders or medical interventions can cause premature menopause. Other causes are: 

  • Premature ovarian failure – when your ovaries stop releasing eggs prematurely for unknown reasons, your estrogen and progesterone levels change. If this happens before you are 40 years old, it is called premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature ovarian failure is not always permanent.
  • Induced menopause – this happens when your doctor removes your ovaries for medical reasons, such as uterine cancer or endometriosis. It can also occur if radiation or chemotherapy damages your ovaries. 

How is menopause treated? 

Menopause is a natural process. Many symptoms will disappear with time. But if they cause problems, treatments can help. These include: 

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – also called menopausal hormone therapy. You take medicines to replace the hormones your body no longer makes.
  • Topical hormone therapy – this is an estrogen cream, insert, or gel that you put in your vagina to help with dryness.
  • Non-hormone medications – specific medications are prescribed for depression, nerve stimulation, blood pressure and other non-hormonal related symptoms.
  • Medications for osteoporosis – you might take medicines or vitamin D supplements to help keep your bones strong. 

Lifestyle changes help many women manage menopause symptoms. Try these steps: 

  • For hot flashes – drink cold water, sit or sleep near a fan, and dress in layers. Eating a variety of foods and keeping a healthy weight will help as well.
  • For vaginal dryness – use an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer or lubricant for dryness
  • For insomnia and other health complications – exercise regularly to sleep better and prevent conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis
  • For bladder leaks – strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises
  • For memory problems – stay socially and mentally active.
  • Do not smoke – tobacco can cause early menopause and increase hot flashes.
  • Limit your alcohol intake – to lower your risk of breast cancer and to sleep better.
  • Relax – practice things like yoga, deep breathing, or massage to help you relax.

 

Menopause and premature menopause can have uncomfortable symptoms that make it more difficult to function and reduce your quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to help you manage the symptoms. Contact The Back Clinic on 0630975603 or via email at info@thebackclinic.co.za

Contact Us

Contact us to find out more about treatment at The Back Clinic or with any questions you may have.

9 + 7 =

Need Help? Chat with us