Menopause comes from the Greek language and literally translates to mean “the end of the monthlies”. For women menopause is a part of life. It is a normal aging process and natural condition that almost every woman will experience. Almost a year after a woman has had her last period menopause will usually begin.
Normally this condition will start by the time a woman has reached the age of fifty (the average age is fifty one) but it does vary and some women it may start much earlier. There have been cases when a woman has shown early signs of menopause even in their thirties. This condition has been defined as premature menopause and it occurs in 1% of women.
This is not a normal condition and often times it can be due to receiving treatment for some other type medical condition such as cancer which requires chemotherapy treatment. This is sometimes referred to as chemical menopause. Late menopause is defined as somewhere between the ages of fifty five and sixty.
Perimenopause is the transition years, the years both before and after the last period , when most women find that they have at least some symptoms of hormonal change and fluctuation, such as hot flashes, mood changes, insomnia, fatigue, and memory problems.
During this time, the production of most of the reproductive hormones, diminishes and becomes more irregular, often with wide and unpredictable fluctuations in levels. During this period, fertility diminishes.
Symptoms of perimenopause can begin as early as age 35, although most women become aware of the symptoms about 10 years later than this. Perimenopause can last for a few years, or possibly longer. The actual duration and severity of perimenopause in any individual woman cannot be predicted in advance or during the process. Not every woman experiences symptoms during perimenopause. Approximately one third of all women hardly notice symptoms at all other than their periods becoming erratic and then stopping. Another one third of women have moderate symptoms. The remaining one third of women have very strong symptoms which tend to have a longer duration. The tendency to have a very strong perimenopause may be inherited in some cases.
Common Symptoms of Menopause
Some of the most common symptoms of menopause are mood swings, anxiety and depression, unclear thinking, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, lapses of memory, night sweats and hot flashes, unable to handle stressful situations, tender or lumpy breasts, chronic fatigue, body hair change, yeast infections, irregular sleeping patterns, water retention, vaginal dryness, blood sugar fluctuations and headaches to name a few.
To cope better with symptoms of menopause, a woman should seek the advice of her physician. Hormone replacement drugs are available to relieve the symptoms so it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are also many natural ways to relieve some of the symptoms that might be beneficial. Acupuncture and certain relaxation techniques may be of assistance to help cope with the situation and may alleviate some of the signs. It might be helpful to try out herbal remedies, although the women’s doctor should be consulted prior to taking them to ensure that they are safe.
There is no denying the fact that menopause can make women concerned and uneasy when they realize they are approaching that time in their life. It helps to focus on the positive side of menopause which is that it is the “end of the monthlies”. This can actually signal the beginning of a new season in a woman’s life.