Every woman goes through the menopausal period in her life. It is the time when she stops menstruating. If she has not had her periods for at least six months and there are no other specific reasons for the missed periods, she is considered to be going through her menopausal period. While for about 75% of the women menopause may last for about a couple of years, for the rest of the 25% it may last for about more than two years. There is nothing unusual about menopausal problems as they are normal symptoms of the ageing process. A woman generally develops the symptoms of menopause between the ages of 45 to 55, but for some women the onset of menopausal symptoms may start before or after this time.
Ovaries start to produce smaller amount of sex hormone oestrogen, with age, and menopause is a result of such reduced levels of oestrogen in a woman’s body. The pituitary glands start to discharge more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in order to stimulate the ovaries. Low levels of oestrogen and high levels of FSH cause most of the symptoms of menopause. These symptoms may be severe when the menopausal period starts suddenly or prematurely. Surgical removal of ovaries or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, may cause premature menopause. Smoking may also lower the age at which the menopausal period starts.
Irregularity in the menstrual cycles is one of the initial indications of menopausal period. The symptoms may start to appear up to five years before menstrual cycle comes to an end and generally may last for about one or two years. Bleeding during the periods may also become heavier. Hot flushes are a common menopausal problem in which the head, arms, and chest become red and feel hot. The hot flushes may last for about few minutes to an hour when they occur. Menopause can take a toll on the emotions of a woman. She may feel extreme levels of anxiety, panic, or depression. Heavy sweating, drying of the skin, and formation of wrinkles are often the symptoms of menopausal problems. A long-term decline of oestrogen levels may cause vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual actions. The decline may also lead to the development of coronary artery disease and thinning of bones.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended to ease out the symptoms of menopause. However, the therapy is advised for a short-term period during the menopause and not for a longer period. HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and thromboembolism, and that is the reason why it is not recommended for a long-term. To keep vaginal dryness and discomfort under control oestrogen creams are used. If one has a sever problem of hot flushes during menopause, she may be prescribed to have clonidine drug. The whole process of menopause may last for about one to five years after which the symptoms disappear automatically.