Post Menopause Symptoms
Post menopause symptoms are the last part of a four stage process that brings a women's reproductive cycle to a permanent end in her life. The four stages of escalating change include pre menopause, perimenopause, menopause and post menopause which concludes the transition from the child bearing years to complete cessation of menses. The average age of menopause is 50 years of age, with pre menopause occurring approximately 5 years before then. Perimenopause is an approximate four year period of time when women are experiencing the most obvious symptoms. A woman is officially in post menopause when she has gone a full 12 months without a period. These stages in a women's life can be difficult and disturbing as the body changes, bringing an end to the youthful part of womanhood while conjuring up hidden challenges ahead.
The first stage of a woman's change of life cycle begins roughly 5 years before its undeniable onset. Pre menopause symptoms are brought on by a fluctuation in estrogen levels that cause symptoms such as irregular periods, headaches, irritability, and weight gain. In fact, some women actually begin premenopause in their late 30's or early 40's. Women who experience early symptoms may struggle with problems for 10 or more years before actually experiencing post menopause symptoms. Pre menopause leads directly into the perimenopausal stage when women are no longer guessing if they are heading toward the end of reproductive abilities. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Fear thou not; for I am with thee; yea, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 40:29; Isaiah 41:10)
Perimenopause is estimated to last approximately four years covering a year or two before and after the end of menses in most women. Women in this stage experience the height of symptoms such as hot flashes, unpredictable cycles, vaginal dryness and mood swings which are all related to fluctuating hormones. Most women experience more difficult adjustment periods during perimenopause than with post menopause symptoms as they are attempting to adjust physically and psychologically to the dramatic bodily changes that are taking place. While the most dramatic changes occur during this stage, there are continuing changes that take place when a woman reaches the next stage. Even though a woman may have completely stopped menses, symptoms such as insomnia, weight gain, osteoporosis, heart palpitations, bladder problems, decreased libido, and changes to the hair, nails and skin can occur. Continually decreasing estrogen levels combined with continuing androgen levels can facilitate excess facial hair as well.
Not all women experience the exact same symptoms and many women experience similar issues that faced their mothers and grandmothers. While scientific research can point toward certain stages of the life change, most women would do well to ask their mothers as to their onset of pre menopause symptoms. It has been a proven fact that most women begin the stage about the same times as their mothers and grandmothers, so checking the family history is often the most accurate indicator. Just as the onset varies among the vast array of women, so does the symptomology of each woman. Estrogen levels fluctuate erratically from female to female and no scientific model has been discovered that can accurately pinpoint the exact, anticipated changes in levels for each individual.
Some women breeze through this phase in life with little problems while others struggle with unending problems well into old age. At the beginning of pre menopause symptoms, many women seek the help of their gynecologist to manage particularly problematic issues. The dramatic drop in hormone levels are the culprit for these changes and the traditional medical approach has been to treat women with hormone replacement therapy when estrogen levels drop to significant proportions. HRT can significantly lessen problems in some women while creating more health issues associated with synthetic hormone replacement. Some women have opted to tough it out these years while searching for alternatives to traditional medicine.
Natural alternatives include herbs, diet, exercise, supplements and other choices; and have proved beneficial to many women. The general idea behind any treatment plan is to restore a level of hormonal balance in the body that will ultimately alleviate pre or post menopause symptoms. Many natural treatments are formulated from plants that have been proven to add naturally derived phytoestrogen or progesterone through normal body absorption. These are considered to offer much less possible side effects than HRT and can provide the delicate hormonal balance that most women need. Simple derivatives from soy, for instance, have already been proven to protect against heart disease while also providing phytoestrogens to improve pre menopause symptoms. Don Quai, black cohash and red clover are common herbs that are also used by many women seeking natural relief for symptoms. Women who are interested in finding alternatives to traditional treatments can access further information online or through their health care professional.