Menopause occurs in women after the fertility and menstruation are completed, a decline in reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone, which is a natural process. It is observed after women reach their 40s or 50s and are understood when their period stops. This natural process has a lot of symptoms and also risks, though there are a lot of treatments and therapies, it is inevitable.
Hot flashes which are also known as hot flushes are a sensation of warmth and heat that is transient and sudden, spreading in the body, mostly noticed the upper body and the face. It causes redness and sweat that generally lasts between 30 seconds and 10 minutes sometimes increase heart rates or chills. There few habits to avoid that trigger hot flushes, like drinking alcohol, caffeine, smoking etc. There are a few treatments and therapies like HRT (hormone replacement therapy), Clonidine (blood pressure medication), Gabapentin, Brisdelle etc.
This symptom occurs due to declining in estrogen levels which cause the vaginal tissue to become dry, thin and less elastic. It also makes intercourse uncomfortable due to lack of lubrication and the vagina is prone to itchiness, irritation, and infections. This symptom in extreme condition causes atrophy of the vagina, where the length and width decreases. This symptom can be controlled with treatments and therapies like using Estring( a soft and flexible ring that releases estrogen), Vagifem, Usage of creams like Estrace and permit and topical estrogen therapy.
Due to reducing estrogen, there is less interest in having sex. This condition effects clitoral reaction, slow or absent orgasmic response. Loss of libido can also be an effect of other symptoms of menopause like depression, mood swings etc. Consulting a doctor is important in such cases and there are also medications like flibanserin (Addyi) to boost libido.
Mood swings are common phenomena during menopause. This is mainly caused due to hormonal imbalance and differs from woman to woman. Sudden and extreme reactions are noticed due to the drop in estrogen and neurotransmitters. These mood fluctuations sometimes affect the brain. Lifestyle changes like sleeping enough, eating proper food, exercise, yoga, tai chi etc will reduce mood swings. However bioidentical hormones and antidepressants also help during menopause. Insomnia, depression etc are mostly noticed.
Reduced estrogen will lead to a lot of hair loss and make it dry and brittle. Hair loss and thinning is observed not only on the scalp but also the body including the pubic area. Hair may fall out during brushing and showering. Due to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone, androgens are produced which are a group of male hormones. These hormones shrink hair follicles and also cause hair to grow on the face. There are few remedied to reduce this condition like eating more protein, handling hair with care, hormone therapy and avoiding harsh chemicals etc.
Due to change in the hormone levels, weight gain is very common during menopause. Due to drop in estrogen hormones, the body retains fat cells to compensate estrogen. Weight gain is more likely to be observed around the abdomen. This condition can lead to a lot of side effects of type 2 diabetes, cancer etc. The remedy for controlling weight gain is to exercise regularly and eat healthy food.
It is a common phenomenon to lose control over the bladder during menopause. This is caused due to loss of elasticity and lining of the urethra in the vagina. Painful urination and constant need to urinate are common symptoms also due to the weakening of pelvic muscles. To fight this, keeping the body hydrated, avoiding alcohol and kegel exercises are important.
Though menopause is a difficult phase in every woman’s life, it is inevitable. However, it is important to understand the condition and apply remedies to make it easy. Women during menopause need a lot of support and affection along with patience to handle them. It is important to just embrace the natural process.