Having to deal with menopause is an unavoidable step in women's lives that is dreaded terribly. But eventually, we have to go through it and it may be easier to deal with if we have a good understanding of the condition. Currently having to go through menopause myself, I decided to share my findings about this natural biological process.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO),
Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity.
This definition, which can be found on the International Menopause Society website, applies to natural menopause which appears between the age of 40 and 58. Here are the definitions of the different stages of menopause:
- Perimenopause: The period immediately prior to natural menopause.
- Menopausal transition or premenopause: The transition period leading to natural menopause when menstrual cycle increases and some symptoms appear.
- Premature menopause: Natural menopause emerging before the age of 40.
- Induced menopause: Menopause that is defined as the cessation of menstruation which follows either surgical removal of both ovaries or iatrogenic ablation of ovarian function.
- Postmenopause: Is defined as the date of final menstrual period, regardless of the fact that the menopause was induced or natural.
Menopause is a natural part of aging and is considered normal after the age of 40 and women can experience a multitude of symptoms all as unpleasant as the next one. These symptoms are due to hormonal imbalance and the end of fertility. Menstruation stops because the ovaries don't produce eggs anymore. No ovulation, no menstruation.
Here are some of the symptoms, making menopause the feminine stage that we apprehend the most:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Urinary incontinence
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of libido
- Sleepless nights
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Brittle nails
- Loss of breast fullness
So you see that menopause isn't an easy condition to live with, but with appropriate treatment and strong support from friends and family, we can learn to accept it. Many treatments like hormonal therapy, osteoporosis prevention or treatment, or low-dose antidepressants are available to us.
The important thing is to take care of ourselves, have a healthy lifestyle and be aware of any changes in our body to be able to minimize the damages. Prevention is the key to avoid complications like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, and above all, never hesitate to talk to someone about your feelings. The good news is that most symptoms associated with menopause are temporary.
Furthermore, I wanted to share with you this interesting infographic, created by Kühl Care, where you will discover several statistics and numbers explaining how menopause affects women around the world. It gives a good idea of how many women suffer from menopause each month, annually in the U.S. and worldwide in a few years' time as well as other infos that will help you understand this natural condition.
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