All processes in your body are regulated by hormones and other special substances. The levels of these chemicals can be naturally changed during your life. Alterations can also develop as a result of certain disorders. The hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are produced by your ovaries, keep your menstruation and fertility under control.
After your 30s synthesis of these hormones begins to decline gradually. In a certain period of your life it will stop altogether, leading to the absence of menstruation and the inability to get pregnant.
If your periods are missed for twelve months or more, it means that you've reached menopause. In the US the average age of menopause is 51-52 years. Besides natural cease of sex hormones, there are also some medical conditions, which can induce menopause. They include uterus removal (hysterectomy), antitumoral chemotherapy, radiation treatment and genetically determined ovarian insufficiency.
Most menopause-related symptoms are due to the decreased estrogen level.
In the majority of cases women experience these signs and symptoms several months or even years before menopause finally occurs. This period is called perimenopause.
Actually menopause symptoms can vary in different women. Here are the most common of them:
#1. Irregular cycle – it's one of the earliest signs of hormonal alterations. Your periods can last more than a week or be heavier than usually. Your menstrual cycle also gets disturbed, becoming irregular.
#2. Hot flashes – reduction of estrogen leads to a sudden sense of heat in your face and upper body, which spreads all over the body and is accompanied by redness, heart palpitations and sweating.
#3. Weight gain – as you age you become more likely to accumulate fat on the waistline and lose muscle mass. It's especially important to follow a healthy diet and perform physical activity during and after menopause as abdominal obesity can lead to diabetes, heart failure and other serious issues.
#4. Vaginal dryness – lack of sex hormones can result in the discomfort and dryness of your private part. These changes often result in painful intercourse, medically called dyspareunia.
#5. Sleep problems – it may appear difficult for you to fall asleep during menopause. Hot flashes can also occur at night, waking you and impairing the quality of your sleep. Consequently you may feel extremely tired, distracted and nervous on the day after a sleepless night.
#6. Low libido – one of the most common problems in those who experience menopause, is a loss of sex drive which is caused by a low estrogen level.
#7. Mood swings – a hormonal shift can be the culprit of your depression, abrupt mood changes and irritability.
#8. Frequent need to urinate – women often complain of the permanent need to urinate during menopause. The problem is about the loss of vaginal and urethral elasticity together with the increased weakness of the pelvic muscles. The decrease of estrogen can also boost your risk of urinary tract infection.
#9. Thin skin and brittle hair – with the passing years the content of collagen gets dramatically decreased, leading to skin thinning and hair loss.
#10. Bone fragility – estrogen deficiency can affect calcium absorption. As a result, your bones become fragile and more likely to fracture.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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