Women are unique in their nature. Their body changes and women stop to be reproductively available after they have lived half of their lives. These changes are normal, natural and affect not only the physical but also psychological part of women. Some people compare menopause to the metamorphosis of a butterfly — women also have to take time during this period and stay with themselves alone, like a future butterfly in a cocoon.
What is menopause?
Menopause literally means the last menstruation. Menstruation usually stops because the levels of estrogen and progesterone are so low that they are not able to stimulate endometrium and it becomes very thin and, hence, does not bleed. Usually menopause comes to women when they are in their early/mid 40s to late 50s/early 60s. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop to produce hormones because they have too few egg cells.
The period before menopause is called a climacteric period during which hormones are changing, fluctuating but are still able to stimulate endometrium and cause menstrual bleeding.
The period from the occurrence of menopausal symptoms to postmenopause is called perimenopause.
The period after the last menstrual flow is postmenopause and is generally described as a 12-month period with no menstruations when ovaries are intact and straight after the surgery when the ovaries have been taken out.
Women going through perimenopause and menopause experience unpleasant symptoms that may interfere with their normal life. These symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations and migraine headaches. Breast swelling and tenderness may occur resulting in discomfort. Your periods will become irregular and vaginal dryness will occur. You may feel unhappy about your changed libido, you may have to adjust lower or greater sex drive. Other symptoms include skin changes, bone loss, changed thinking and sleeplessness.
Menopause is a normal change in a female life. It is not an illness and has no specific treatment and it does not have to be cured. However, medical staff has some methods that may treat the bothering menopause symptoms.
Hot flashes may be treated with soy protein since it contains phytoestrogens, the natural plant estrogens that may replace the deficiency of human estrogens. Lifestyle modifications are also known to be effective in overcoming hot flashes. A woman should exercise regularly and avoid food substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food, that stimulate the occurrence of hot flashes.
Weight gain may be avoided if a woman controls her diet and exercises more. In order to prevent the development of osteoporosis, females should maintain normal calcium intake and perform regular exercise.
A well-known treatment method is hormone replacement therapy, which includes a combination therapy of estrogen and progesterone or estrogen itself. This type of treatment is considered to be helpful for building up the bone mass, decreasing cholesterol level, and decreases the number of fractures.
Bear in mind that some women may find it hard to accept the changes of their body and mind. Therefore, family support is vital. In addition, a woman should try to understand the changes and accept them as a normal progression of their lives.