A Brief Overview about Menopause

A Brief Overview about Menopause

Intensity and duration of symptoms of menopause vary among women, making it difficult to predict exactly when and how it will occur. It is a risk factor for many diseases in women. It is a stage of woman that creates a lot of uncertainty because there are no exact guidelines on how and when it begins and what consequences it may bring.

Menopause is a normal physiological state of the middle-aged woman, except for certain situations. This is a very important stage, where the appearance of various symptoms can alter personal, family, social and work life of women.

According to the studies, menopause is the time of a woman’s life where there is a cessation of menstruation together with changes in her body. At this time, the woman begins a new era known as climacteric. It is transition between fertile and old age or perimenopause and is characterized by menstrual cycle irregularities and other symptoms.

When Menopause Occurs?

Menopause usually occurs between 48-52 years of age when there is a cessation of menstruation for 1 year according to WHO. If it happens before the age 40, it is called premature menopause. If the contrary occurs after the age of 55 years, it is considered as late menopause.

What are the Most Common Symptoms of Menopause?

The most common symptoms are as under;

  • Sweating
  • Dry skin
  • Memory impairment
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Vaginal dryness (sex can be painful)
  • Changes in frequency and duration of menstruation
  • Feeling hot for several minutes with high intensity on face
  • Urinary incontinence (increased risk of urinary tract infections)
  • Insomnia may alter woman’s emotional state such as anxiety, tension and irritability.
  • Decreased height and increased risk of fractures (both are produced by softening of the bones)

Less Common Symptoms of Menopause

The less common symptoms that may also occur during menopause are as under;

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling in hands and feet

All the above mentioned symptoms are due to the changes in body that cause hormonal alterations.

Vasomotor Symptoms – Symptoms related to Dilation and/or Constriction of Blood Vessels.

Here we find the hot flashes and sleep disturbance. These symptoms are due to the absence of estrogen that occurs during menopause caused by the decline of ovarian function and increased stimulation of sympathetic nervous system that affects ‘thermostat’ brain.

Vaginal and Urinary Symptoms

They are due to the decrease of estrogens’ local action exerted on female reproductive tract and the lower urinary tract. As a result, women not only suffer from vaginal dryness and feel pain during sex, but also face urinary tract infection.

Psychological and Neurological Symptoms

Possibly both physical alterations of the body, which can generate stress, depression, anxiety  and memory loss, are related to the effects of decreased levels of estrogen on part of brain memory functions, concentration and emotional state of women.

Causes of Menopause

  • Menopause is caused by the progressive loss of ovarian function (decreased egg production) which causes decreased production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone), causing menopause.
  • Smoking and autoimmune diseases may advance the onset of menopause.
  • Menopause can also occur as a result of certain surgical procedures such as removal of ovaries or uterus. Chemotherapy or hormonal therapy for breast cancer can also cause the menopause.


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