Because there is a lack of estrogen the body reacts by shutting down the reproductive organs, which is the reason why women who have been through menopause can no longer have children. Menopause can also be triggered earlier if a woman has a complete hysterectomy; once again this is due to the lack of estrogen produced by the woman’s reproductive organs.
As the body adapts to this new change it will react with certain symptoms some of the very well known symptoms are hot flushes and heart palpitations. There are also psychological symptoms that may appear such as depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings and lack of concentration. There may also be increased light and irregular menstrual periods during this transition period.
These symptoms are considered to be normal, and may range in severity. Some women hardly even know they are experiencing menopause and notice very few of the above symptoms, while others have severe reactions.
Menopausal symptoms generally last between 6-12 months in most women, although some women may experience all or some of these symptoms for as long as 5 years. In these extreme cases there may be medical approaches taken to ease the symptoms. One common approach is hormone replacement therapy.
There are some risks and benefits to having hormone replacement therapy; one of the benefits is a reduced risk of the onset of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of getting osteoporosis.
Some of the risks involved with hormone replacement therapy are an increased chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
These risks and benefits are discussed thoroughly with a doctor before hormone replacement therapy is started. It is up to each woman to choose what approach will be taken toward her menopausal symptoms, once the risks and benefits have been discussed.
Onset of menopause is likely to begin at around the age of 50 years, if the woman has had a serious illness or suffered from cancer requiring chemotherapy, it is likely there will be an earlier onset of menopause, in some cases if the woman is under 40 it is considered to be premature menopause.
Menopause is considered to be a natural part of a woman’s ageing process and these symptoms are considered to be normal. If a woman has any concerns during this time of her life it is best to seek the help of a medical professional, who will be able to offer advice and ways to reduce the severity of symptoms.
By: Heather Colman
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