Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women, marking the end of their reproductive years. The Mayo Clinic states that the average age for menopause in the United States is 51, but it typically occurs in a women's 40s to 50s. While menopause is a normal event, it can often bring with it uncomfortable, even painful, symptoms that can disrupt daily life. Here's a closer look at what menopause is, how to recognize its symptoms, and potential menopause treatment options.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause occurs when a woman's ovaries stop functioning normally and produce less estrogen and other hormones as she ages. This change means that menstruation will become irregular, which is called peri-menopause. Eventually, menstruation will stop completely. When you miss 12 or more periods in a row, menopause has officially started.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
There most well-known symptom that is associated with menopause is hot flashes. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth accompanied by flushing or sweating. While they are often used as the punchline on sitcom television, hot flashes are incredibly uncomfortable for women. In addition to hot flashes, other symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory problems
- Decreased libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Lower metabolism
- Weight gain
These symptoms may start months or even years before your periods fully stop, so it's important to be aware of the changes in your body.
What Are Menopause Treatment Options?
There are many menopause treatment options for women. However, the treatment varies depending on the individual woman's needs and symptoms. Some menopause treatments include:
- Lifestyle modifications. Exercise and dietary changes can relieve some menopause symptoms.
- Medications. Talk to your doctor about prescription solutions like hormone replacement therapy.
- Natural remedies. Some women prefer natural remedies for menopause symptoms, like herbal supplements.
- Alternative therapies. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, and even yoga may help you cope with menopause symptoms.
- Surgery. Surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy or oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) can help in extreme cases.
Depending on your specific symptoms, your doctor can help you decide which menopause treatment option is best for you.
Menopause is a normal part of aging for women that marks the end of their reproductive years. While it comes with physical changes, there are many ways to manage these symptoms through menopause treatment options. If you are starting to experience any menopausal symptoms, including missed periods, it's important to talk to your doctor so they can help you find the right menopause treatment for you.
Contact a local doctor to learn more about menopause treatment.