If not all, almost all women or girls have wished their monthly period away with no effect on their fertility or wellbeing, does that include you?
Menstruation, which is the monthly shedding of the uterine wall, usually starts at age 13 but does not happen throughout life.
There is a natural occurrence called menopause that grinds this timely cycle to a halt. It comes with symptoms that maybe discomforting to manage.
Even though your menstrual cycle may be active, it is important to know about menopause to prepare yourself for the future of your reproductive health.
If you have or think you might be experiencing menopause, you’re in luck. Learn more about menopause, the symptoms and how to cope with them.
Read here: 12 Easy Tips To Take Good Care Of Your Vulva
What is Menopause?
Menopause happens when a woman hasn’t had a period in full 12 months and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. It typically starts between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can happen at any time before or after that.
Menopause could bring on unpleasant symptoms including hot flashes and weight gain and it does not require medical attention for the most women.
What is the cause of Menopause?
There are two ways menopause can happen; Naturally or Induced
Menopause happens naturally when the ovaries get older and produce less reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
The decline of active ovarian follicles is one of the most significant changes. Ovarian follicles are the structures that enable menstruation and fertility by producing and releasing eggs from the ovary wall.
As the flow gets heavier and longer, most women find the frequency of their cycle becoming less constant. This generally happens between the ages of 40 and 50, and by the age of 55 almost all women would have experienced menopause.
In certain cases, damage or surgical removal of the ovaries and associated pelvic structures causes or triggers menopause.
The following are some of the most common causes that stimulate menopause:
- Oophorectomy (surgical removal of both ovaries)
- Shutting down of ovary activity by hormone therapy, surgery, or radiotherapy techniques in women with estrogen receptive-positive tumors.
- Pelvic injuries that cause the ovaries to be seriously damaged or destroyed
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Every woman’s menopause journey is different.
When menopause happens unexpectedly or within a brief period of time, the symptoms are typically more intense.
Before menopause sets in, there are certain symptoms women experience such as an increase or decrease in menstrual flow compared to normal, hot flushes, and night sweats. This phase is known as Perimenopause.
The most common menopause symptoms are:
- Dry eyes, mouth and skin
- Sore breasts
- Dryness of the vagina
- Reduction in sex drive
- Weight gain
- Problems with memory
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty concentrating
These symptoms can last for four years or longer after menopause.
How can you treat menopause?
If the symptoms are serious or affecting your quality of life, you may require medication. Hormone therapy can be an effective treatment for hot flashes, night sweats, flushing, vaginal atrophy, and osteoporosis in women under the age of 60 or within 10 years of menopause onset.
There are remedies that can be explored to soothe symptoms, they are:
1. Keeping calm and feeling relaxed
- Dress in loose, layered clothing, particularly during the night time and during warm or unpredictable weather. This will assist in the relief of hot flashes.
- Keeping your room cool at night and avoiding heavy blankets will also help you prevent night sweats.
- To aid comfort, try using a waterproof sheet under your bedding to cover your mattress if you have night sweats on a regular basis.
- If you feel sweaty most of the time, take a portable fan with you wherever you go to help you cool down. Cheap affordable fans are available here
2. Using dietary supplements
Boost energy and sleep by taking calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. Supplements like Omega 3 have been proven to help with menopausal symptoms, read more about an affordable source of omega 3 here.
Also, discuss supplements with your doctor to see how they can support your health.
3. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke as cigarette smoke can worsen your symptoms.
To prevent worsening symptoms, you should also restrict your alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking during menopause will improve the likelihood of developing health problems.
4. Taking care of your skin is important.
To combat dry skin, use moisturizers on a regular basis. Excessive bathing or swimming, which may dry out or irritate the skin, should also be avoided.
5. Seek Counsel from a professional
Any symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief, loneliness, insomnia, or persistent mood swings should be addressed with a psychiatrist or counselor.
To reduce the risk of complications of menopause such as osteoporosis, vulvovaginal atrophy, painful intercourse, slower metabolic function, cataracts, urinary incontinence, gum/tooth disease, heart or blood vessel disease and sudden emotional changes, it is recommended to see your health provider to talk about the different types of therapy you may benefit from.