Menopause: Causes and Treatments
- Posted on: Jun 16 2011
Prepare for menopause and learn how to treat the uncomfortable symptoms.
All week long, for our theme of ‘Ladies Week’, we are talking all about the excitement and joy that comes with being a woman: Sharing time with girlfriends, being a wife or a mom, and being strong and independent. However, there is one part of being a woman that isn’t particularly exciting or joyful: Menopause.
Unfortunately, menopause is something that affects all women around age 50. Your hormones begin to change, you get hot flashes, and your mood and emotions go out of control. Sounds fun, right?
Luckily, there are now treatments such as Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) that can help to prevent many of the symptoms that come along with menopause. However, the first step to treating these symptoms is learning about what they are and where they come from:
What is menopause?
Menopause is a normal time in a woman’s life, usually around her late 40s or early 50s, when her ovaries stop releasing eggs and her period stops. In the time leading up to menopause, often referred to as perimenopause, a women may experience many different changes in her life: her hormones and period frequency may begin to change and she may get mild menopause symptoms.
Menopause is caused when a women’s ovaries are completely depleted of eggs and, therefore, stop producing hormones. This is a process that generally happens over a gradual amount of time, however for some women, it can happen all at once. For instance, if a women has her ovaries removed through surgery, this can cause “induced menopause” and trigger an onset of menopause symptoms all in one period of time.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause can trigger many bothersome symptoms for a large number of women. In fact, studies have shown that about 1 out of 10 women have serious menopause symptoms that make it difficult to do daily activities. The most common symptoms include hot flashes, blushing and sweating, and feelings of warmth throughout the upper body.
Other common menopause symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Weight gain
- Brain Fog
- Mood swings, irritability or depression
- Changes in sexual desire
- Joint and muscle aches and pains
- Night sweats or sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness or painful intercourse
What can you do to prevent menopause symptoms?
One of the most studied and proven treatments for improving menopause symptoms is hormone therapy’s such as BHRT. The basic idea behind these treatments is to replace the hormones in a woman’s body that are no longer produced by her ovaries. This is done by taking supplemental estrogen, with or without progesterone. These supplements help to increase the levels of hormone in the body, prevent hot flashes, improve vaginal lubrication, and also prevent many other common menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy also helps to fight against bone loss and heart disease, serious problems that can often occur after going through menopause.
In addition to hormone replacement treatments, menopause symptoms can also be reduced by making certain lifestyle changes. Exercise is one of the biggest reducers of symptoms of menopause. Stretching and aerobic exercise are all recommended activities for women who are experiencing menopause symptoms. Another big symptom reducer is a women’s diet. A diet that is high in veggies and fruits and steers clear of saturated fats is recommended for a woman’s general health and well being.
While menopause itself may be an unavoidable part of a woman’s life, it doesn’t have to be intolerable. Understanding the symptoms of menopause and the beneficial treatment options can help to make this natural time in your life much more comfortable.