Menopause is considered as a natural phenomenon in a woman as they age. It marks the end of a female’s reproductive period as her ovarian follicles cease to function and becomes depleted. Due to this, their progesterone and oestrogen hormone levels decline, while the follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH and luteinising hormone or LH upsurge in response. Correspondingly, the menstruation cycle becomes erratic and subsequently stops altogether.

Menopause is indeed a gradual process and does not take place overnight. There are various transition periods in between the entire cycle, viz. climacteric period, menopausal transition period, and perimenopause stage that eventually leads to the last period – menopause. According to the National Institute of Aging in the US, an average menopause age in a woman is 51 years, while in India most of the women experience menopause before the age of 40 years.

Symptoms of Menopause

As mentioned above, menopause symptoms are primarily attributed to a woman’s tissue sensitivity to the lower progesterone and oestrogen levels. Every woman experiences different symptoms and undergoes treatment of menopause. While some experience these symptoms even as still going through their monthly menstrual cycle, others hardly confront a change until a year or few months before their last period. Some of the common menopause symptoms are:

Hot Flashes

This is one of the severe menopause symptoms, which refers to the periods of extreme heat generation in the body and is further accompanied by sweating. Sweats and hot flush are often triggered by stress, wearing tight clothes, and consumption of alcohol or caffeine. Managing menopause hot flashes symptom requires circumventing the consumption of spicy or hot food that may generate excessive heat in your body. In addition, it is important to wear light clothes, exercise regularly, and sip ice water. An individual can consult a practitioner, if required, and take prescribed medications.

Breast Tenderness

Some women might experience tenderness, discomfort, swelling, heaviness or pain in their breasts during the pre-menopause period.

There are two types of breast pain in menopause:

Cyclical breast pain: It commonly occurs a week prior to the menopause cycle.

Non-cyclical breast pain: It is not directly related to the menstrual cycle but may occur any time. Some women may experience it before menopause, while there are females that may come across this pain after or during menopause.

Breast pain, in general, slows down and eventually diminishes after the menopause.

Vaginal Dryness

This is primarily caused by various hormonal factors like;

  • Oestrogen

  • Progesterone

  • Testosterone

Loss of libido in females may disturb their sex life. To cure this, there are a number of over-the-counter or OTC lubricants like KY Jelly that may be used before sexual intercourse. Besides, there are some other lubricants that can be used on a daily basis like sesame seed oil can be used as a topical ointment to avoid vaginal dryness. In addition, sustained-release vaginal estrogen supplements and vaginal estrogen creams are commonly used to release small amounts of oestrogen into the vagina, which are proved to be highly effective in the treatment of vaginal dryness, but, at the same time, increases the risk of hazardous conditions like:

blood clots

heart stroke

breast cancer

Management & Treatment

Managing menopause naturally requires women to follow a healthy and active lifestyle along with regular physical activities and indulgence in good food. But, for those witnessing severe symptoms that affect the quality of their life, need to seek menopause help for appropriate medical guidance and support. Listed below are some of the options to treat or manage menopause:

Healthy lifestyle

Treatment of vaginal dryness

Therapy for hormone replacement

Medications prescribed by the doctors

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (not commonly recommended)

Complementary and natural menopause therapies

Most of the aforementioned treatments are authenticated by the legitimate scientific research reports; however for some of them, there are insufficient evidence to validate their implication in the management of menopause.

Besides external treatments for dealing with menopause, it is important to avoid diet and conditions which may trigger the symptoms of menopause. It is equally important to avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Above all, it is essential to take care of internal health for it is better to not let the symptoms surface, leave alone their treatment.

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