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.
Symptoms Of Post MenopauseSymptoms of post menopause usually occur between the ages of 45 and 55 but can vary depending upon the individual. Some of these symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and irritability. Long terms effects can include other health related changes such as bone loss, and a greater risk of heart disease due to changes in cholesterol levels. Symptoms of menopause and its occurrence may be confirmed through blood and urine tests that are used to measure hormone levels. Taking hormones may help to relieve the symptoms but this option should be discussed with a physician weighing carefully the risks involved.
Reducing the severity of symptoms of menopause is possible through a healthy lifestyle. Getting plenty of rest and exercise is important or seeking alternative treatment may prove to be beneficial. Make smart food choices by eating low-fat, high-fiber, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Soy foods have been studied and shown to be beneficial for women experiencing symptoms of post menopause. Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, and practice relaxation techniques to help combat stress. Smoking can affect symptoms by aggravating other health risks such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease as well as speeding the aging process. Taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement including calcium will be beneficial as well. Taking calcium is important for post menopausal women due to the possibility of osteoporosis.
Making positive lifestyle changes will help in combating the changes within the body that take place during menopause. Losing weight helps to relieve some symptoms of menopause by eliminating the negative effects brought on by extra weight. Food cravings may be noticed as hormones fluctuate and since blood sugar levels should be kept even throughout the day some physicians recommend eating 5 small meals per day. Hormone changes within the body can bring about changes within the brain that can lead to depression. Decreased levels of estrogen may affect memory and cause brain fog. Hormonal changes can affect many body tissues and functions. Treatment for depression should be considered during this time. It would be wise to talk to a professional about treatment for depression and to help alleviate other symptoms.
Alternative medicine offers an approach that is designed to help with symptoms of post menopause. An introduction of herbs and natural hormones such as progesterone and estriol are choices to consider. Some recommended alternatives to hormone replacement therapy are black cohash, redclover, flax seed, and soy isoflavones. It is wise to talk to a physician before starting any alternative or natural hormone therapy. Some herbal remedies can cause reactions with other medications, over the counter or prescription. Consider spiritual remedies during this trying time when hormones cause a myriad of symptoms and stress. Begin a bible study and find out how to trust God concerning life changes. He tells us in his word that if we will take our troubles to him that he will give us peace and protect our heart and mind. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Estrogen plays an important role in protecting women against heart disease. The reduction of this hormone is what brings about symptoms of post menopause. Low estrogen levels contribute to high cholesterol, low blood pressure, depression, and can also contribute to thinning hair. Estrogen replacement therapies shouldn't be considered without speaking to a physician first. Some common side effects that have been associated with estrogen therapy include swelling of ankles, loss of appetite, weight changes, water retention, nausea, abdominal cramps, and bloating. Rare side effects include stroke, chest pains, leg pains, breathing difficulty, and vision changes. Normally when a physician considers estrogen therapy, progesterone therapy will be included as well.
Progesterone and estrogen tend to balance each other out within the body. Experiencing symptoms of menopause suggests that estrogen is too high in the body in comparison to progesterone. There are many progesterone creams that have been marketed because of this assumption. It is best not to make assumptions when it comes to balancing out hormones especially when trying to do it alone. Get some professional advice from a physician before starting any type of treatment related to hormones. Don't ignore symptoms especially if they become severe or uncontrollable. At the same time don't be afraid of going through menopause either. There are many women who have gone through the same thing and will continue to do so. The important thing is to realize what is normal and what isn't. Seek some healthcare advice when suspecting the onset of menopause. There is information on the Internet that is very helpful and might be able to answer some questions and concerns.