Understanding Menopause

The menopause cycle has following 3 steps –

  • Pre-menopause;
  • Menopause; and
  • Post-menopause.

Pre-menopause is the transitional time immediately before natural menopause when the changes of menopause begin, and includes the 12 months after (also called “the menopause transition”). Pre-menopause can last for 6 years or more.

Menopause is the final menstrual period, confirmed after 12 straight months without a period or when both of a woman’s ovaries are removed or permanently damaged.  Most women experience natural menopause between ages 40 and 58; the average age for it in the developed world is 51.

Post-menopause is all the years beyond menopause.

During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly.

This estrogen deficiency leads to irregular menstrual cycles and a number of short and long term symptoms. Among these are; vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, sweating and insomnia as well as psychological disorders such as depression and mood swings. The genitourinary system is also affected, leading to urinary incontinence and urgency, UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) and dyspareunia caused by atrophic vaginitis. Among the long term disorders associated with this condition are osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

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