For a woman, menopause signifies that her reproductive years have passed and the menstrual cycle has come to an end. A woman is born with a finite number of eggs that will carry her through her fertile years. A woman's ovaries will stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone and once 12 months have gone by without a period, menopause is said to have begun.
As a woman ages, signs that menopause is beginning will start to become apparent. It does not happen suddenly. There is a period of time before menopause occurs that can be identified as perimenopause. When full menopause symptoms start, woman has the option to try natural remedies or visit a doctor for possible hormonal treatments to target the symptoms.
The following list of menopause symptoms and treatments are the most common among women over 40 years oldi. Most women will enter a peri-menopausal state after age 40, with 51 being the average age of menopause.
The most common menopause symptom is the hot flash. If hot flashes happen during the night, they are referred to as night sweats. Hot flashes are believed to be caused by estrogen fluctuations within the body and can range from a few minutes of being uncomfortable to extreme sweating situations many times a day. They can last for years, happening prior to menopause and for a time afterward, too.
There are some popular natural remedies that are available to women who experience hot flashes that interfere with daily life. Black cohosh is a flowering plant native to the United States and Canada whose roots have been linked to healing properties for a variety of ailments, but it's most common use is to alleviate hot flashes.
Night sweats, mentioned above, can give rise to a restless night's sleepii. If lack of a good night's sleep is getting you down, try a remedy for hot flashes or a natural sleep aid like melatonin.
The decrease in hormonal production in the body may result in vaginal dryness, which can often cause painful intercourse. Women may want to explore personal lubricant options to alleviate the dryness.
During perimenopause, some women may experience fluctuating periods. You could experience a heavier or lighter flow than normal. This is completely natural. It is only when 12 consecutive months without a period has happened is menopause medically said to have occurred.
As the hormones estrogen and progesterone become less available to help regulate weight, weight gain and redistribution of fat previously in the hips and thighs can occur. Eating a balanced diet and regular exercise can help to combat this unwelcome side effect.
Hormones play a large part in a person's mood and overall well-being. The lack of estrogen and progesterone can cause drastic mood swings and depression. Consult with a doctor to find the best course of action for you.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.
i. Content produced and distributed by MedlinePlus. 2016, October 21.
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ii. Information provided by Womenshealth.gov, 2017.