While menopause is not a medical condition, it can often lead to many uncomfortable symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. This blog post explores five things you need to know about the menopause and steps you can take to manage any symptoms.
1. It is a natural biological process
The menopause is not a medical condition or disease. It's simply a natural biological process. Just as girls go through puberty as they transition into adolescence, women go through menopause as they transition into middle age. During puberty, the ovaries begin producing estrogen, which causes girls to develop breasts, start menstruating, and experience other changes in their bodies. Similarly, during the menopause, estrogen production decreases and eventually stops altogether, causing women to experience physical and emotional changes.
2. Declining hormone levels cause the menopause
The primary cause of the menopause is a decline in the production of two hormones—estrogen and progesterone—by the ovaries. As women age, they have fewer eggs remaining in their ovaries, and the ovaries produce less estrogen. This decrease in estrogen levels leads to many of the common symptoms associated with the menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
3. There is no "one size fits all" timeline for the menopause
The age at which women begin the menopause varies widely. For some women, it can happen as early as their mid-40s; for others, it may not happen until their early 50s or even later. In general, though, most women will experience at least some symptoms of the menopause between the ages of 45 and 55.
4. There are many treatment options available
If you're experiencing unpleasant symptoms related to menopause, many treatments available can help ease your transition through this phase of life. Some commonly prescribed treatments include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), low-dose birth control pills, non-hormonal vaginal moisturisers or lubricants, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressants.
5. You don't have to go through it alone
The menopause can be a difficult time for many women, but it doesn't have to be something you go through alone. There are lots of resources available that can help you to understand what's happening in your body and how best to manage your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider, read books or articles like this one, join support groups, or connect with others who are experiencing the menopause so you can share your experiences and offer each other support.
If you would like further advice and information, contact your local women's health clinic today.