Menopause may be defined as the point of time when menstrual cycles permanently cease due to a decrease in female hormones as an effect of ageing. Menopause marks the end of fertility permanently in females. The average age of women for menopause is around 51 years of age with perimenopause ranging from 47 to 51 years.
Menopause can be diagnosed in a woman if there is no sign after menses for 12 consecutive months. The diagnosis can be made by taking a proper history of the patient. There are certain laboratory tests for confirmation of menopause.
Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) is said to be increased during menopause. There is a decrease in the level of estrogen in women undergoing menopause. Any hormonal therapy or birth control pills will invalidate the FSH and estrogen tests. So these conditions are taken into consideration while diagnosing for menopause.
There is a certain medical condition that results in a lack of period. To rule out such conditions your doctor might do a thyroid function tests, prolactin level and other possible tests depending upon your physical history.
As the level of reproductive hormones is reduced in menopause, it increases the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke.
Following a healthy lifestyle including a nutritious diet, regular exercise, supplementation with vitamin D and calcium, and elimination of cigarettes and alcohol can help in lowering the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and cardiovascular disease.
There is hormone replacement therapy consisting of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormonal therapies help in reducing symptoms of menopause in a woman. Hormonal therapy has a risk of inducing breast cancer, blood clots, myocardial infarction and stroke. So the lowest possible dose is recommended.
Apart from the above treatment modalities, there are non-hormonal medications for treating vasomotor instability that include a low dose of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), antidepressants such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram and sertraline. Gabapentin and clonidine are also used for vasomotor instability treatment.
A healthy diet including foods containing phytoestrogens such as soybeans, chickpeas, and flaxseeds can also relief vasomotor problems.
Osteoporosis can be treated with non-hormonal bisphosphonates and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM).You should always consult your doctor and discuss the proper treatment option for menopause instead of self-medication.
Menopause is not a disease or a medical condition, it is a normal part of life, every woman has to undergo. Menopause affects every woman differently, some women may experience problems due to these menopause symptoms. For others, menopause may not be as troublesome