Menopause is one term tossed about so often that we all think we understand what it encompasses. Just as all women begin to experience puberty and even menstruation at different points in their lives, menopause follows a similar pattern. Even if they are the same age, no two women are exactly alike on their biological racetrack. So, this might come as a shocker, but menopause is not entirely all you may have imagined.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause marks the end of the periodic menstrual cycles. It is often characterized by highly irregular periods, chills, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain, breast flaccidity, thinning hair, etc. Even before a female is born, her eggs have begun to die. At birth, each female has a gazette of 1 to 2 million eggs for the entirety of her life. Each month following puberty, this number decreases by one – sometimes by two or three. This egg release, aka “ovulation,” combined with natural egg degradation, occurs repeatedly.
You can be diagnosed to be menopausal when you are over 50 and have gone a year without a period. Therefore, research reveals that by age 30, 90% of the eggs have been used up. Hence, there are more cases of menopause in women over 50 than in younger women.
It is important to note that menopause is a healthy physiological process and should therefore be no cause for alarm. However, if you are not ready to let go of the rewards of being a menstruating woman, reach out to your health practitioner. The person might be able to help you with a proven menopause treatment.
You can suspect menopause if you notice these tell-tale signs;
1. Irregular periods
In the months and years preceding menopause (perimenopause), you would experience an irregularity in your periodic flow. It’s no big deal! Skipping periods during perimenopause is typical and expected. So, you might notice that you don’t get your flow in a month or two. You might see that the cycle length and flow duration are both shorter than usual. You could also go three or four months without sign of an approaching period. As much as menopause might be responsible for this roller coaster, ensure to rule out pregnancy using a test kit.
2. Vaginal Dryness
Much more than all the other signs on this list, Vaginal dryness causes the most problems for many postmenopausal women. It has therefore been tagged the hallmark sign of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. This condition is known clinically as vaginal atrophy. As a result of the diminishing estrogen levels in menopausal women, the vagina tissues become thinner and easily irritable. To remedy this natural disaster, you can apply Vaginal moisturizers like Replens, which would induce some moisture in the vagina. Menopausal women can also use Vaginal lubricants to alleviate the pain that would arise during intercourse.
3. Breast Flaccidity
Menopause causes visible alterations in the size, shape, and even feel of the breast. Little wonder why menopause is called “the change of life.” It can affect just about every part of the female body; the paired bogus mammary glands are not excluded from the effects of menopause. As a female approaches menopause, her estrogen levels reduce considerably. The milk generating system collapses, breast tissues shrink, become more fat-filled, and sag eventually.
You do not have to wonder about cancerous pathologies resulting from these changes. Menopause reduces the chances of developing breast cancer. Ageing, not menopause, is the culprit for breast cancer.
4. Thinning Hair
There are several other reasons women might experience hair loss, but when this happens during menopause, it is often a result of hormonal imbalance. Due to the decline in estrogen production, hairs experience a reduction in growth rate and can easily fall off the head. As estrogen levels reduce, androgen levels increase. These male hormones would not only shrink hair follicles, causing hair loss but would also cause more hair to grow on the face of menopausal women.
Since your hormones are not helping you retain your curly locks anymore, it would be a great idea to minimize the use of heat tools to prevent more breakage. Keep away from using hair dryers or straightening irons. Keep it natural, and use more nourishing and moisturizing hair products.
5. Weight Gain
Genetics can cause women to put on weight. Other factors, such as lack of exercise, insufficient sleep, unhealthy eating habits, etc., can also predispose you to unnecessary weight gain. You might not know, but the hormonal changes accompanying menopause might also cause weight gain. Menopause weight gain can mean severe implications for your health. You might begin to notice breathing difficulties, increased blood pressure, diabetes etc.
So if you have noticed an extra layer of fat around your abdomen, you need to pick up some exercise routines, control your snacking habits and get more rest to help your body win the fight.
As it has already been established, all women are different. The age at which they each begin to experience menopause also differs from woman to woman. However, all women would experience similar symptoms at the onset of menopause. Menopause is typical, but you must prepare for the life-altering changes accompanying the process.