What is menopause?
This is a natural phase of a woman’s life as she ages. It is normally described as the final menstrual period in which a woman is not able to bear children.
History of Menopause
Although Aristotle referred to age at menopause being 40 years, it was a French physician Dr. Charles Négrier who coined the term menopause in 1821. Menopause is also known as the climacteric. The word menopause itself comes from the Greek, ‘men’ for month, and ‘pausis’ for pause.
There are two types of menopause. There is spontaneous or natural menopause is recognized retrospectively after 12 months of amenorrhea (no period). It occurs at an average age of 52y ears, but the age of natural menopause can vary widely from 40 to 58 years. Induced menopause refers to the cessation of menstruation that occurs after either bilateral oophorectomy or iatrogenic ablation of ovarian function (eg, by chemotherapy or pelvic radiation).
Phases of Menopause
Before menopause is called, pre-menopause. When the signs and symptoms start but there is still a period, it called peri-menopause. The time when the period stops for a year, that is called menopause and thereafter, the woman is in the post menopause phase
Common Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms that women experience are primarily related to a lowered production of the female sex hormones and progesterone. Symptoms vary widely because of the many effects that these hormones have on the female body. These may include:
Weight gain and slowed metabolismDizziness
Dry hair and hair loss
Prolapse resulting in loss of libido and painful sexual intercourse
1. Menopause counselling, including discussion of physiologic changes, assessment of menopause-related symptoms and treatment options, review of screening recommendations, and discussion of disease risk-reduction strategies and psychosocial issues, facilitates informed decision making among midlife and older women
2. Thorough physical examination and screening for diseases you may be at risk for.
3. Treatment for disease that exist when assessed.
4. Hormonal Replacement Therapy
5. Natural Approach
Other Supportive Measures
Use of megavitamin use and prayer. Increased dietary soy (legumes, soy, tofu), isoflavone products, and other forms of phytoestrogens reduce menopause symptoms. Acupuncture reduces hot flashes and improves sleep patterns in postmenopausal women. Regular consumption of soy isoflavones in the diet may offer breast cancer protection if exposure occurs during breast development. Soy isoflavones also may inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis if initiated within 5 years after the onset of menopause. Exercise and stress management. Use of Black Coash and Evening Primrose can be useful.
Closing thought: Staying healthy is key. If you know what to expect, it is easier to manage.
Contributed by: Dr. Heather Fletcher, Menopause Health Educator