Menopause and Hormones | Revere Health

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.

Causes of Menopause

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:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation: These common cancer treatments can bring on menopause and are often associated with hot flashes. In some cases, chemotherapy may cause a temporary halt in menstruation rather than inducing menopause.
  • Hysterectomy: Hysterectomies during which both the uterus and ovaries are removed from the body typically cause immediate menopause. Symptoms in these cases are often extreme due to the lack of the typical menopausal transition period, which generally lasts months or years.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency: This condition describes women whose ovaries under-produce reproductive hormones. It is also one of the known causes for the roughly one percent of women who undergo premature menopause before the age of 40. In many cases, though, the cause of this premature menopause is unknown.

Symptoms of Menopause

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:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Irregular menstruation or vaginal dryness
  • Emotional changes, including mood, memory and clear thinking
  • Other changes in the body, such as weight gain, changes in metabolism, or skin and hair texture

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.

Treatment and Post-Menopause

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.

The obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause, and beyond.

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.

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