menopauseMENOPAUSE is the permanent end of menstruation. It is a normal part of aging and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Menopause typically occurs in a woman’s late 40s to early 50s.

Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause aren’t hard to miss. Some women go through menopause without any complications or unpleasant symptoms. But others find menopausal symptoms debilitating, beginning even during pre-menopause and lasting for years.

They may include:
1. Irregular periods
2. Lower fertility
3. Vaginal dryness
4. Hot flashes
5. Night sweats
6. Disturbed sleep
7. Urinary problems
8. Moodiness
9. Problems focusing and learning

If left untreated, all of the symptoms mentioned will usually taper off gradually over a period of two to five years. However, symptoms can persist for much longer. In some cases, vaginal dryness, itching and discomfort can become chronic, and eventually get worse if left untreated.

What Causes Menopause?
Age is the leading cause of menopause. It’s the end of a woman’s potential childbearing years, brought on by the ovaries gradually slowing down their function. Certain surgeries and medical treatment can induce menopause. Those include surgical removal of the ovaries (bilateral oopharectomy), chemotherapy, and pelvic radiation therapy.

How does natural menopause occur?
Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women undergoing natural menopause, the process is gradual and is described in three stages:

Perimenopause or “menopause transition.” Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen.
Menopause. Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods.
Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for most women.

Menopause Complications
After the menopause it is common for the following chronic conditions to appear.

Cardiovascular disease – a drop in estrogen levels often goes hand-in-hand with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In order to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease a woman should quit smoking, try to keep her blood pressure within normal levels, do plenty of regular exercise, sleep at least 7 hours each night, and eat a well-balanced healthy diet.

Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis, a “brittle-bone” disease, occurs when the inside of bones become less dense, making them more fragile and likely to fracture. Women lose an average of 25 percent of their bone mass from the time of menopause to age 60, due in large part to the loss of estrogen.

Urinary incontinence – the menopause causes the tissues of the vagina and urethra to lose their elasticity, which can result in frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by urge incontinence (involuntary loss of urine).