Definition of Menopause
The phase in a woman's life when the production of the estrogen hormone falls to very low levels permanently, it is called menopause. During this time the ovaries stop producing eggs, and the regular menstrual cycle of the woman stop forever. Menopause occurs naturally in most women, with approaching age between the age group of 35 to 60. Medically a woman has a certified menopause when she misses her regular periods for over a year and there is no other biological or physiological cause evident for it.
In most women menopause heralds the end of fertility period, after which a woman cannot conceive a child. Natural menopause is said to occur when the ovaries start decreasing their production of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone on a permanent basis.
Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of menopause, but mistaken beliefs about the menopausal transition are partly to blame for the emotional ones. First, menopause doesn't mean the end is near — you've still got as much as half your life to go. Second, menopause will not snuff out your femininity and sexuality. In fact, you may be one of the many women who find it liberating to stop worrying about pregnancy and periods.
Most important, even though menopause is not an illness, you shouldn't hesitate to get treatment if you're having severe symptoms. Many treatments are available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.
Symptoms of Menopause
The onslaught of menopause has different reactions and shows different symptoms in different women. Before the actual start of menopause, there are several signs and symptoms which may or may not be common to different women. The most common symptom that brings about the onset of menopause is the beginning of irregular menstrual periods. The irregularity may vary from woman to woman and the frequency or flow of periods might see some variation. With decreasing trends in ovulation, a woman might still become pregnant though the chances become lesser with everyday.
With menopause, the lining of the vagina and that of the urethra gradually have less elasticity and become drier and thinner. Some women also have burning and itching sensations in the urinary tract and even vaginal infections from time to time. Sometimes women experience involuntary passing of urine while coughing, sneezing or laughing. The urge to urinate very frequently is also another common symptom. In some cases women may have pain during sexual intercourse or at the least be uncomfortable.
Most women encounter, what is known as the hot flashes during their menopause period. The hot flash is thought of as one of the most frequently experienced symptoms, which is an outcome of low estrogen levels which makes blood vessels go up. During such hot flashes, women tend to sweat and have a flushed appearance.
Weight gain is another avidly seen symptom of the onset of menopause. Weight concentration is usually seen around the waist and abdomen areas. Other physical changes are also seen in the form of thinning hair, wrinkles, fuller breasts, adult acne, besides others.
Types of Menopause
A woman’s menopause may be put into 3 categories;
- Premature Menopause
- Artificial Menopause
- Natural Menopause
A woman is said to be experiencing premature menopause when she has her last period before she is actually 40 years old. This is because menopause is usually and naturally seen to be occurring in women who are beyond 50. There may be reasons for experiencing a premature menopause. Some such factors may be;
- Exposure to chemotherapy
- Hereditary factors
- Exposure to radiation
During surgery if the blood supply to the ovaries is interrupted then it may lead to premature menopause also.
An Artificial menopause made possible by medical intervention due to the wish of the patient. This is often done by removing the ovaries that produce hormones like estrogen and progesterone. At times though radiation experienced in the pelvic area may also lead to artificial menopause.
A Natural menopause is a part of the aging process of a woman. This phenomenon is associated with women in the age group of 45-60 and it indicates the end of fertility and the child bearing age. The period of menopause lasts for two to six years, during which time, hormone levels change due to the reduction in the production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. There are 12 types of menopause and they are as follows;
- Type 1: Ideal Menopause - If you are lucky enough to have an ideal menopause, you might find it hard to understand why your friends complain about their menopausal symptoms since your menopause is almost totally free of discomfort.
- Type 2: Low Testosterone - In this type 2 menopause, your body is producing enough estrogen and progesterone to meet your needs, though your levels of both hormones might be at the low end of the "normal" range. But your body is not making enough testosterone. The result can be subtle, or quite intense. You might feel basically fine, but a little lacking in drive and confidence, or "vim and vigour,?
- Type 3: High Testosterone - Type 3 menopause similar the first two types, may be relatively easy. With adequate levels of both estrogen and progesterone, things can go fairly smoothly. But too high a level of testosterone can be a problem.
- Type 4: Low Estrogen - Your body doesn't produce enough of these estrogens. It could be that, because of stress or other factors, your adrenal glands aren't able to increase their production of making estrogen as well as they should.
- Type 5: Low Estrogen, Low Testosterone - Although this type of menopause has many of the physical discomforts of Type 4, its most painful effects may be emotional. Low estrogen and low testosterone each affect a woman's mood; together, their effects can be devastating.
- Type 6: Low Estrogen, High Testosterone - Women with Type 6 menopause can suffer from an awkward combination of agitation and fatigue. High testosterone levels can make you feel irritable, while low estrogen can make it hard for you to concentrate and remember names.
- Type 7: Low Progesterone - The classic sign of Type 7 is anxiety. In the body, progesterone has a soothing effect on the nervous system. In fact, progesterone and its by-products can affect some of the same nervous system receptors that are affected by anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax.
- Type 8: Low Progesterone, Low Testosterone - The symptoms of Type 8 menopause are similar to Type 7, but involve lower spirits and a greater tendency toward depression. The lack of libido, drive, and motivation that accompany low testosterone levels don't do anything to cheer up a woman who's already feeling anxious from a progesterone deficiency.
- Type 9 : Low Progesterone, High Testosterone - When you combine low-progesterone anxiety with high testosterone testiness, the result isn't fun.
- Type 10: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone - This menopause type involves a profound lack of two important hormones in a woman's body: estrogen and progesterone. Women with this menopause type may feel lacking in significant ways.
- Type 11: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone, Low Testosterone - Menopause is difficult enough when it involves deficiencies in both estrogen and progesterone, but when your testosterone level is low as well, you can feel deeply uncomfortable.
- Type 12: Low Estrogen, Low Progesterone, High Testosterone - Like Types 10 and 11, this menopause type can bring a profoundly disturbing sense of being out of balance. With a high testosterone level, you may tend to feel more agitated or frustrated.
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