Menopause is the time in the life of a woman when her periods stop, signalling the end of the reproductive function of her body. The process can be challenging and hard to accept. However, as with any other inevitable bodily change, being informed and at peace with what is happening goes a long way towards easing the process and managing symptoms.
Menopause is confirmed when a woman has had no periods for a year. For the vast majority of women, menopause occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. The precursing years of transition are called perimenopause, and the years immediately following menopause are called postmenopause. From start to finish, the whole process can take 2–12 years.
These processes are associated with irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia, as well as mood swings, forgetfulness, even depression. These symptoms, caused by a decline in estrogen levels, are called climacteric disorders.
These hormonal changes also result in bodily changes: the skin becomes thinner and drier, breasts change in shape and can become more sensitive, and there may be weight gain, especially in the stomach area.
Menopause also comes with an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, and it is therefore important to make regular visits to your doctor.
What can cause premature menopause? What are the different types of hormone replacement therapy? Read more about Menopause here.