Menopause is a normal condition which every woman experiences as she ages. The term “menopause” describe any changes that a woman goes through either just before or after she stops having periods. This marks the end of her reproductive period. A woman is said to be menopausal is she has not had periods for at least a year. The onset of menopause is usually between 45-55 years of age. Autoimmune disorders, excessive smoking, and damage to the ovaries may lead to early menopause.
Signs and symptoms
Menopausal symptoms may have a significant impact on the routine life of women. During menopause, you are most likely to experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Hot flashes: Hot flashes are sudden feeling of heat accompanied with flushed face and sweating. Most women experience hot flashes during menopause. Some women may also have night sweats.
- Sleep problems: While approaching menopause women might have trouble to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Pain during intercourse: Menopausal women may have painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness.
- Frequent urination: The urge to urinate increases and you may also experience painful urination. Frequent urination occurs due to the loss of elasticity in the tissues surrounding your vagina and urethra.
- Mood swings: Symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and depression may reach extreme heights during menopause.
- Physical changes: Some women may experience weight gain due to increased fat deposit around their waistline. You may notice dry skin and thinner hair.
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, during menopause you are more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Due to the decreased production of estrogen hormone, some women may have breast shrinkage. Hormonal changes can cause difficulty in focusing, learning and memory retention.
Tests for Menopause
If the doctor suspects that your symptoms are associated with menopause he would recommend the following hormonal tests.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): High levels of FSH in blood an indication that you are nearing menopause. Make sure that you are not taking any contraceptive medications while checking FSH levels as they can tamper with the test results.
- Thyroid-profile (T3, T4 and TSH): Symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar to menopause symptoms. Levels of T3, T4 and TSH helps to detect thyroid dysfunction.
Treatment for menopause
- Include more amounts of fruits and vegetables as they slow the process of aging and improves your hormonal balance. High-fiber foods help in balancing the production of estrogen.
- Omega-3 fatty acids and flax seeds facilitate the hormone production. Probiotics helps to prevent urinary tract infections during menopause.
- Adequate fluid intake helps to decrease bloating and hot flashes.
Certain medications that can relieve your symptoms of menopause are as follows:
Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy is considered as one of the most effective treatments in controlling and relieving the menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and bone loss. Vaginal estrogen relieves discomfort during intercourse, vaginal dryness, and certain urinary symptoms.
Anti-depressants: Low dose of anti-depressant medications that belong to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to reduce hot flashes and manage mood disorders.
Other medications: Gabapentin is known to reduce menopausal hot flashes. Clonidine can be used to treat hypertension and relieve hot flashes during menopause stage. Vitamin D supplements help to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis at the time of menopause.
Choosing healthy lifestyle habits can keep you healthy and make the symptoms subside in a long run. The following are a few tips to ease the symptoms of menopause:
- Healthy diet: Foods such as soy, wheat, potatoes, apples boost estrogen levels and thus help to reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol as it can interfere with your sleep patterns.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can trigger hot flashes, irritate your bladder and can weaken your bones.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps in managing the symptoms of stress like anxiety and irritability. It also strengthens your bones and improves your sleep.
- Avoid packaged foods: Processed and packed foods contain high amounts of chemical preservatives that can worsen the hormonal imbalances.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
For appointments, please call 4444 2424.
- Menopause (What do you want to know about menopause?) https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause. Accessed on 05-10-2017
- Menopause (What are the symptoms and signs of menopause?) https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/symptoms-signs#overview1. Accessed on 06-10-2017
- Menopause (How do I know if I’m in menopause?) https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/understanding-menopause-symptoms#1. Accessed on 06-10-2017
- Menopause (Menopause tests and diagnosis) https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/tests-diagnosis#menopause1. Accessed on 06-10-2017
- Menopause (Diagnosis and treatment) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401. Accessed on 06-10-2017
- Menopause https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/natural-alternative-treatments-lifestyle-changes.html. Accessed on 06-10-2017