Menopause marks the beginning of an era when a woman stops being fertile. A lot of misconception and myths surround this very natural phenomenon. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect during menopause.
What is Menopause?
Every woman is born with a finite number of eggs that are stored in the ovaries. They release one egg every month. Ovaries are also responsible for regulating the two female hormones-oestrogen and progesterone – which are behind her monthly cycle. When a woman reaches a certain age, her ovaries produce less of these hormones and stop expelling eggs. This is called menopause.
Menopause is likely to happen anytime after 40. If it sets in earlier than that, it is termed premature menopause. Menopause doesn’t just kick in abruptly. Neither does it end with the termination of menstruation. It is a process of gradual transition.
Here is a sequence of the stages that one will have to go through:
Perimenopause: In this stage, the production of oestrogen starts fizzling out but the ovaries still keep releasing eggs. This stage will last a few years and culminate into full-blown menopause. Towards the end of this stage, you will start to notice many of the symptoms of menopause.
Menopause: When you go an entire year without bleeding, it is safe to conclude that you are in the menopause stage. The ovaries no longer produce oestrogen and cease to release eggs.
Postmenopause: This is the stage when the symptoms of menopause disappear and the risks associated with the absence of oestrogen in the system increase.
Symptoms of the Different Stages spanning Menopause
The best way to navigate the stages of Menopause starts with knowing what to expect during menopause. Once you are well acquainted with signs, you can prepare yourself, both mentally and physically, to tackle them.
1. Symptoms of perimenopause
- Hot flashes
- Tenderness of breasts
- Loss of libido
- Leakage of urine
- Vaginal dryness
- Severe mood swings
- Very heavy bleeding during periods
- Irregular menstruation
2. Signs and symptoms of menopause
- Night sweat
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Loss of sleep
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of bone density
- Rapid heart rate
3. Symptoms of postmenopause
You might experience a few of the symptoms of menopause but the severity declines. Since oestrogen prevents many gynaecological ailments, when its production ceases, you may become vulnerable. That is why you should opt for regular tests such as a pelvic examination, Pap smear, mammograms and breast exams to eliminate the possibilities of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.
4. Induced menopause
Menopause can also be triggered when a woman undergoes surgical removal of ovaries as a treatment for ovarian cancer or endometriosis. This is called induced menopause. A woman may also go through menopause if she opts for chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Menopause is a natural process that affects every woman once they reach that particular age and shouldn’t be a source of concern. All one needs to do is to be prepared and informed.