Perimenopause is the part of a woman’s life ranging 2-8 years before the actual menopause, caused by the beginning of hormone levels to change going up and down, creating fluctuations in the menstrual cycles. This stage usually appears in a woman’s life between the ages of 40 and 50. The menstrual changes may appear in some cases in the late 30’s once the hormones levels start dropping and the fertility naturally declines, while for others, those signs appear only in the late 40’s.
Post menopause represents the part of life that starts one year after the last menstrual period, when the hormones levels remain low and stop fluctuating, and symptoms usually subside. From this point on, a woman can enjoy a life free of menstrual bleeding and birth control concerns.
Causes of menopause
Together with body aging, the egg supply of a woman ages too. So the ovulations are rarer, causing variations in the hormones production. Eventually, there won’t be enough progesterone and estrogens in the body for the menstruation, so it will stop. This is the natural cause for menopause.
Menopause may also have unnatural causes like: oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries), radiation therapy in the abdominal area or chemotherapy.
The symptoms of menopause
Along with the perimenopause, irregular menstrual cycles appear and can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Among the symptoms of the menopause we encounter hot flashes, insomnia, cloudy thinking, headaches, heart palpitations, mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety. The symptoms may appear even before the menopause and last a while after the transition is completed. Also the symptoms do not appear to all women with the same intensity, for some women it may be a difficult challenge while others can pass through it without noticing many changes.
Most of the symptoms of the menopause are caused by the variation of the hormones released in the body or by their low levels. Yet, if the main cause is the fluctuation, the symptoms will improve or disappear after the settlement of the levels. In some cases the symptoms like hot flashes can last a longer time after the menopause is reached. If the symptoms are caused by the lack of the needed quantity of hormones, as in the case of vaginal dryness, they can be easily treated.
The recognition of the actual stages of the menopause
The perimenopause and menopause don’t need tests to be recognized. A woman and her doctor can tell when the perimenopause has begun by the variation of the physical and emotional symptoms and the irregularity of the menstrual cycles.
Women aging around 40 years are most probably at perimenopause if there are variations of the menstrual cycles, and irregular bleedings. Yet, a specialist should be consulted because in some cases there is the possibility for those symptoms to caused by other factors as pregnancy complications or infections.
If the menstruation has been missing for one year, a woman has reached menopause.
Is treatment required?
Because menopause is a natural process encountered in every woman, it doesn’t require medication. The consequences of the menopause, as well as those of aging, will affect a woman’s body and will make necessary some slight changes in the lifestyle, like: changing the diet into a more appropriate one – healthier – make physical and mental exercises on a regular basis, reduce the factors of stress, reduce caffeine, alcohol and tobacco use.
If a woman considers that a lifestyle change is not enough help for relieving the menopause symptoms, she can turn to therapy: hormone therapy, hormone replace therapy, blood pressure medicine, antidepressants or alternative supplements. In this case, it is best for every woman that turns to this kind of treatments that there are always possible risks and side effects. Therapies based on hormones can cause health problems like cancer, heart conditions or blood pressure. The chances for a woman on therapy to develop complications are not known and cannot be found out from statistics. Before starting a treatment, any woman must consult a specialist.
By: Ruben Knisely
About the Author: