All About Menopause

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Menopause begins when a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs and she no longer menstruates. 

Just as puberty was a process, so is menopause. A woman will transition into menopause gradually over several years. During this time, she will experience fluctuations in hormone levels and a variety of symptoms. When a woman has stopped menstruating for an entire year, she has entered menopause.

Why Does Menopause Occur?

You are born with a certain number of eggs that reside in the follicles in your ovaries. As you age, your hormone levels decrease and your ovaries can no longer regulate the hormones your ovaries produce. Thus, the levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body decreases. As a result, your body begins to transition into menopause.

When Does Menopause Begin?

The onset of menopause varies from woman to woman. Studies have shown that lifestyle, genetic factors, reproductive history, diet, and social and cultural factors can play a role in the onset of menopause. 

Women who live in countries where it is a cultural norm to have more pregnancies are likely to enter into menopause sooner than their US counterparts who typically have fewer pregnancies. 

Typically, a woman will start to notice hormonal changes such as irregular periods, decreased libido, and insomnia between the ages of 35-45. However, it will vary between women. 

What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?

Insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional changes are common symptoms of menopause. Most of these symptoms can be managed with diet, exercise, and other stress-reducing activities such as meditation. 

What Should Menopausal Women Look Out For?

Post-menopausal women should keep a close eye on their cardiovascular and bone health. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death of women post-menopause. Likewise, because of the decreasing levels of estrogen, bone breakdown can be prevalent during menopause and lead to osteoporosis. Menopausal women need to consider these issues and maintain a healthy diet and exercise to protect their health.

While it is a natural part of life, the changes and symptoms of menopause can feel overwhelming for some women. If you ever have any questions or concerns about the changes taking place in your body, reach out to your doctor.

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