Menopause is a normal phenomenon that is the permanent cessation of menstruation in women.
Menopause can be physiological in women between the ages of 45 and 55 years caused by ovarian ablation (surgery) or destruction.
Menopause is often preceded by a transition period called perimenopause.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon to the age of 50, but can occur as early as late twenties or later in the sixties.
Given the variety of symptoms (onset, duration, severity ...), every woman experiences her menopause in very different ways.
Risks and symptoms of menopause
The period of menopause is often a source of discomfort, with significant physical and psychological changes. Nearly one in two women complained of symptoms such as hot flashes or sweating, especially at night.
In addition, due to hormonal deficiency in the absence of hormone replacement therapy, cardiovascular complications (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) and bone (osteoporosis and fractures) may develop.
Causes and disorders related to menopause
Stopping ovarian function will stop the production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone), with physical effects in the breasts, buttocks, pubic vagina.
Thus, the absence of rules and changing the hormonal cycle induce significant changes in the vaginal wall becomes thinner, the vagina narrower, shorter and less elastic. The hormone deficiency also causes psychological variables.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The first symptoms are menstrual irregularities and / or hot flashes until the complete cessation of menses for several cycles. These symptoms around 50 years, but they are especially for family history (age of menopause in the mother).
Other signs often accompany menopause and hamper the quality of life. Hot flashes are characterized by a feeling of warmth in the upper body, followed by profuse sweating. At night, they cause frequent awakenings.
Dry skin associated with estrogen deficiency makes the skin thinner and dry hair loss or brittle nails may accompany it. Genitourinary disorders due to the thinning of the vaginal mucosa are responsible for pain during intercourse (dyspareunia). Weight gain is often observed.
Finally, mood disorders frequently exist with mood swings, irritability, or anxiety up to a real depression.
With what should we not confuse the menopause?
Urinary disorders, frequent menopause should not ignore a urinary tract infection should be treated. Burning during urination, frequent urination should alert and motivate a consultation.
Adenoma prolactin (small pituitary tumor) causes a cessation of menstruation may be confused with menopause blood straighten and MRI diagnosis.
Are there possible prevention of menopause?
Parallel to hormone treatment, rules of lifestyle are required with the practice of regular physical activity and a balanced diet. Some foods are preferred to ensure eg a sufficient daily intake of calcium, but low in fat (dairy, egg yolk for vitamin D, sardines, broccoli ...). A diet rich in fiber is also beneficial.
Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited.
Menopause Preparing consultation
When to consult menopause?
The premenopausal, just before menopause, can already be marked by bothersome symptoms (hot flashes, insomnia ...) and / or sexual problems. These symptoms likely to worsen during menopause, they should be taken care of quickly.
What does the doctor against menopause?
The diagnosis of menopause is in most cases a simple medical examination. The absence of menstruation for 6 months to 1 year in a woman of fifty complaining of hot flashes is sufficient to make the diagnosis. In case of doubt or menopause earlier, a blood hormone assay with a confirmed diagnosis.
Other blood tests (prolactin) are sometimes offered to eliminate other causes of missed periods (amenorrhea).
In addition, other tests may be useful to prevent or detect complications of menopause (eg osteoporosis).
The symptoms and complications can be avoided by taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which compensates for the lack of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone). This treatment protects complications and improves quality of life: reduction of hot flashes, improving skin disorders ...
It can be prescribed in the absence of cons-indications of a continuous or discontinuous (with rules "artificial"), by mouth, gel or patch.
Menopause: how to prepare my next visit?
Regular consultation of your doctor (eg twice a year) for a gynecological examination and participation every 2 years in the screening program for breast cancer with mammography allow optimal prevention.
Also note all the symptoms experienced, even the most innocuous: it will confirm or not their relationship to menopause and can offer you the appropriate treatment.
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