Understanding the journey of menopause
Women are born with all of their eggs, which are stored in their ovaries. Their ovaries also make the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which control their period (menstruation) and the release of eggs (ovulation). Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops.
Most women first notice the frequency of their period becoming less consistent, as the flow becomes heavier and longer. This usually occurs at some point in the mid-to-late 40s. By the age of 52, most women have undergone menopause.
Some women can go through the process early. This can be the result of surgery, like if their ovaries are removed in a hysterectomy, or damage to their ovaries, such as from chemotherapy. If it happens before age 40, for any reason, it’s called premature menopause.
Perimenopause vs. menopause vs. postmenopause
Perimenopause occurs before menopause. It is a time when your hormones begin to change in preparation for menopause. It can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. Many women begin perimenopause some point after their mid-40s. Other women skip perimenopause and enter menopause suddenly.
During perimenopause, menstrual periods become irregular. Your periods may be late, or you may completely skip one or more periods. Menstrual flow may also become heavier or lighter. Menopause is defined as a lack of menstruation for one full year. Postmenopause refers to the years after menopause has occurred.
Aside from menstruation changes, the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are generally the same.
Most women nearing menopause will have hot flashes, sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the upper body, often with blushing and sweating. These flashes can range from mild in most women to severe in others. About 75% of women experience hot flashes with menopause.
Other common symptoms of menopause include:
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
- difficulty concentrating
- memory problems
- reduced libido, or sex drive
- dry skin, mouth, and eyes
- increased urination
- sore or tender breasts
- racing heart
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- reduced muscle mass
- painful or stiff joints
- reduced bone mass
- less full breasts
- hair thinning or loss
- increased hair growth on other areas of the body, like the face, neck, chest, and upper back
Symptoms are usually more severe when menopause occurs suddenly or over a shorter period of time. Conditions that impact the health of the ovary, like cancer or hysterectomy, or certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, tend to increase the severity and duration of symptoms.
Menopause itself is a normal part of life and not a disease that requires treatment. However, you may need treatment if your symptoms are severe or affecting your quality of life. Hormone therapy may be an effective treatment in women under the age of 60, or within 10 years of menopause onset. Other medications may be used to treat more specific symptoms, like hair loss and vaginal dryness.
Home remedies and lifestyle changes
There are several ways to reduce minor-to-moderate menopause symptoms naturally, using home remedies, lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments:
- Keeping cool and staying comfortable
- Exercising and managing your weight
- Communicating your needs
- Supplementing your diet
- Practicing relaxation techniques
- Taking care of your skin
- Managing sleeping issues
- Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol use
Natural supplements and nutrients that may help limit symptoms include:
- vitamin E
- flax seed
Menopause is not a health problem but a natural transition. However, it can involve unwanted physical and mental changes. Anyone who has concerns about these changes should seek medical advice. Remember: every woman’s experience is unique.
Femular is well tolerated natural medicines that have been shown to relieve the symptoms of menopause from as early as 1 month with significant relief shown at 3 months and continued improvement over 9 months. Femular products contain an exclusive extract from the plant Actaea racemosa, also known as Black cohosh. The specific extract used in the Femular range– known as Ze 450® – is well tolerated and has been researched in multiple clinical studies to relieve menopausal symptoms during all stages of menopause.
The Femular range helps relieve menopausal symptoms, including:
- Hot flushes and sweating
- Disturbed sleep, nervous tension and irritability
- Headaches and joint pain
Visit www.flordis.co.za for more information.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.