Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of your periods or menstrual cycles.
Signs & Symptoms of menopause can vary between individuals and includes:
Low energy levels
Sensitive to cold temperature (chills)
Menopause can be caused due to:
Declining hormonal levels: when you are nearing 40 years of age, the level of reproductive hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) decline gradually. These hormones are also responsible for regulating menstruation. In your 50s, your periods may become irregular and eventually stop.
Removal of ovaries: Surgical removal of the ovaries may cause a significant decline in the production of oestrogen and progesterone and causes immediate menopause.
Cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy can induce menopause which may not always be permanent.
Primary ovarian insufficiency may cause premature menopause due to a decline in the production of reproductive hormones.
Post-menopause, the risk of certain medical problems increases including:
The risk for cardiovascular disease increases due to the decline in the oestrogen levels.
Osteoporosis: Due to rapid loss of bone density post-menopause, susceptibility to fractures of spine, hips and wrists increases.
Urinary incontinence: Due to loss of elasticity of the tissues of the vagina and urethra you may experience involuntary loss of urine. Urine may leak during coughing, laughing, etc.
Reduced sexual function: Vaginal dryness and decreased sensation may reduce your desire for sexual activity.
Weight gain due to slow metabolism.
Menopause is a natural biological process and the treatment targets on managing the symptoms.
Menopausal treatment includes:
Hormone Therapy: Oestrogen therapy is commonly recommended to relieve most of the symptoms including hot flashes, bone density loss, etc. Initially, a very low dose of oestrogen for a short time is given. In addition to this, progestin is also recommended if you still have your uterus.
Vaginal oestrogen: Oestrogen in the form of a table, ring, or cream is applied directly onto the vagina to relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse.
Low-dose antidepressants are recommended to relieve symptoms including hot flashes, depression, etc.
Medications including calcium vitamin D supplements may be recommended to prevent or treat osteoporosis.