Menopause is the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. The menopausal transition starts with varying menstrual cycle length and ends with the final menstrual period. Perimenopause means “the time around menopause” and is often used to refer to the menopausal transitional period.
Menopause affects every woman. Premature menopause symptoms (or early menopause symptoms) may include irregular periods or hot flashes. Other signs of menopause include night sweats, sleep difficulties, and irritability.
Causes and symptoms of menopause
Because hormone levels fall, changes occur in the entire female reproductive system. The vaginal walls become less elastic and thinner. The vagina becomes shorter. Lubricating secretions from the vagina become watery. The outside genital tissue decreases. This is called atrophy of the labia.
Breast changes: Menopause may cause changes in the shape of the breasts.
Weight gain: A 3-year study of healthy women nearing menopause found an average gain of 5 pounds during the 3 years. Hormonal changes and aging are both possible factors in this weight gain.
There is very little high-quality scientific evidence about the effectiveness and long-term safety of CAM therapies for menopausal symptoms. More research is needed.
Menopause is the medical term for the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles. It is a natural part of a woman’s life and occurs when the ovaries stop making hormones. This causes estrogen levels to drop and leads to the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can also occur when the ovaries are surgically removed.
Screening Tests for Women
Obesity: Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) You can also find your own BMI with the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung.
Colorectal Cancer: Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.
Home-Use Tests – Menopause
This is a home-use test kit to measure Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in your urine.
This may help indicate if you are in menopause or perimenopause.
Why should you do this test?
You should use this test if you want to know if your symptoms, such as irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or sleep problems are part of menopause. While many women may have little or no trouble when going through the stages of menopause,
Treatments of menopause
Talking to your doctor
Since we’re always learning more about menopause treatment options and hormone therapy, it can be confusing to figure out how to treat or manage menopausal symptoms.
Exercise is an important part of preventative health care for postmenopausal women. By increasing cardiovascular fitness and strengthening the bones, exercise helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.
Treatments for specific symptoms such as lubricants for vaginal dryness or anti-depressants for emotional changes
Bioidentical hormones may be an option for women who are at risk for certain types of cancer and/or have failed treatment with prescription estrogens and progesterone.