What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural biological process women experience in their 40s or 50s, and marks the end of menstrual cycles and fertility. It occurs 12 months after your last menstrual period and is typically caused by your ovaries no longer releasing an egg every month. You are born with a certain number of eggs, which are stored in the ovaries. Ovaries create estrogen and progesterone, helping to manage menstruation and ovulation. Menopause can also be triggered prematurely due to damage to your ovaries through surgery, such as a hysterectomy, or treatment, such as chemotherapy. Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles and fertility.
What Are the Symptoms?
During the months leading up to menopause, or perimenopause, you may experience some of these symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Weight gain due to slow metabolism
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Change in sex drive
- Uncontrollable bladder
Your primary care provider or OB/GYN will help you manage your symptoms.
How to Manage Menopause
During perimenopause, consult with your physician regularly because symptoms begin to affect your body as your hormones fluctuate. You should take preventive measures, including recommended screenings, such as a colonoscopy, mammogram, and screening your cholesterol levels. If you experience vaginal bleeding after menopause, seek medical advice from your doctor.
What Are the Benefits of Menopause?
Going through menopause isn’t all doom and gloom. Most women find the experience enlightening. Here are some benefits of menopause:
- Feel a sense of relief knowing that you will no longer have to worry about getting pregnant.
- Say goodbye to periods.
- Hormonal headaches will be a thing of the past.
- A new outlook on health.
- A chance to reflect on life.