Menopause and Hormones
posted by OBGYN | December 2, 2016
Menopause, the time in life when a woman has ended her monthly menstrual cycles, is a significant life event for adult women. It’s one of the female body’s most obvious signals of a physical transition into a new stage of life.
Some women see menopause as a long-awaited relief from concerns about pregnancy and body maintenance during menstrual periods, but even menopause comes with potential physical and emotional symptoms. Here are a few facts and tips on menopause and what to expect.
The primary cause of menopause in healthy women is a natural decline in production of two major hormones: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate menstruation in women and affect fertility.
For most women, small signs of this process are visible by the early 40s, usually in the form of changes to frequency, duration or intensity of menstruation. The average age at which menopause has completed and menstruation has fully stopped is 51 years old.
This natural hormone decline isn’t the only possible cause of the onset of menopause, however. A few other specific conditions or circumstances can also be causes:
For many women, the symptoms associated with menopause last for several years at a time and can range in severity. Some of the most common include:
Pregnancy is still possible in women who are undergoing initial symptoms of menopause but have not yet completed the process.
It’s generally recommended that women begin seeing a doctor as soon as these initial symptoms take place. Because hormones can vary so greatly between women, the processes involved in medical care are highly contextualized.
By the time the menopausal process is complete and women have stopped experiencing menstruation for 12 months consecutively, many bodily changes will be apparent. Decreased sexual libido is common, as is nominal weight gain. Risk also grows for certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and urinary incontinence.
Treatment for both women experiencing menopausal transitions and women who have completed menopause varies from case to case. Some women have few invasive symptoms, and may only need frequent check-ups. Others have issues in the hormone realm, which are most commonly remedied through hormone therapy or vaginal estrogen. Still others may require specific medications to help with hot flashes, or to help treat osteoporosis. In all these cases, the correct prescriptions and dosages will be handled by a doctor.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.