What Is Menopause

"What is menopause?" is a question often asked by those who seek information about the physical and psychological changes that occur in women at approximately 50 years of age when reproductive abilities come to an end. An understanding of menopause is not only important to women, but to the men who love them in order to meet the inevitable challenges ahead. For men who have no idea regarding what is the cause of menopause, a class in Women's Health 101 may be appropriate. Since men do not experience a major physical upheaval toward the later third of life as women do, there has been a lack of perception and understanding about this important and difficult process. It can affect relationships, families, health, future outlooks and has other important implications as well. For generations, menopause has been an unwelcome rite of passage into another stage of life for many women who have been largely unaffected by positive support from many family members, friends and church groups.

Most husbands really do care about the unexpected upheaval that this new stage in life can cause the ones they love. However, the lack of simple education regarding what is the cause of menopause has kept many men and other potential support groups from offering much needed understanding and help during this unstable time in a woman's life. The onset of this stage in women has been described as similar to a fast moving train running smoothly down a track until it unexpectedly comes to a screeching halt to avoid an inevitable collision ahead. A women's body has been tuned to childbearing abilities by normal hormone levels since teen years and when pre-menopause occurs, the physical upheaval that diminishing estrogen levels cause can be quite traumatic and devastating to many women.

A physical crash actually occurs in women that starts a chain of physical and psychological events which can certainly be managed but are scientifically proven to occur. Most men or women are not typically aware of how much hormones actually influence the physical functioning of both genders and especially those of women who enter menopausal years. An understanding among both sexes regarding what is the cause of menopause can be extremely helpful to all. Much of a woman's perception about herself, her usefulness, sense of well being and of course, physical well being can be affected by menopause. Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, thinning of the skin and hair, weight gain and other serious repercussions to previous good health.

Psychological difficulties also can occur as a result of changing hormones which include indiscriminate moods swings and irritability. One of the problems with this area of physically induced change, is a perceived notion that menopause is generally just 'in the head.' Women need to receive health care from a caring and knowledgeable professional that takes seriously the changes that occur during this midlife stage. While this major bodily change can be difficult for the women affected, it can also be difficult for family and friends who want to understand issues regarding what is menopause in order to help their loved one.

While much of the psychological and physical changes brought on by menopause are already problematic, the stress associated with these changes further exacerbates emotional difficulties. More stress, discontent and a real sense of loss are typical feelings for many women who deal with the personal, physical deterioration resulting from the phase. A continued sense of support, love and affirmation provided by husbands, children, other family and friends can make this major life transition as smooth as possible. Men who truly want to affect their wives from a positive point of view are always the winners when they understand what is the cause of menopause. When spouses can more fully understand this huge life change, the family relationship can be strengthened.

Women who are fortunate enough to have relationships with family members that help, encourage and believe the seriousness of this normal transition of life will more likely make it successfully through the 5-10 years of unstable body changes that they face. Women who also have a strong faith in God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ have a huge reservoir of strength to draw from when faced with life's inevitable changes of what is menopause related. He who created men and women is also able to sustain both through the winds of physical, psychological or spiritual change. He is the best Support and Guide of all. "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

There are many women who have very little negative symptoms induced by the hormonal changes caused by menopause. In fact, many women that understand what is menopause related symptoms and how to cope with them, are more likely to enjoy a special freedom that comes from moving into a new phase of life. These women are no longer concerned about child bearing and are usually free from the responsibilities of child rearing. Women and their husbands can enjoy each other in a new way, but with more resources and wisdom than before the childbearing years. In the 21st century, many women are finding advanced medical and alternative treatments that can alleviate or relieve altogether the annoying symptoms of life's last major physical change. By understanding what is the cause of menopause, women today can commit themselves with renewed vigor to husbands, grandchildren and commitment of service to the Lord in their later years.

Am I In Menopause

The average age of menopause in women is 51 years of age but can make its onset in some women as early as 40. Some women on the other hand, do not experience period cessations until the mid-50's although this is not typical. Just as puberty signals a change in a woman's life for the child bearing years, this stage of life signals a hormonal change that no longer allows a woman to bear children. Some perimenopausal symptoms can occur several years before actual this stage of life takes place. "Am I in menopause?" is a question that many women ask as they enter their forties because of some marked changes they begin to notice in their bodies.

Perithis stage of life is the time before actual menopause when some women may begin to experience irregular periods brought on by fluctuating estrogen levels. Just as puberty is triggered by rising levels of estrogen in developing ovaries, the onset of this stage is triggered by the dropping levels of estrogen and progesterone in the female body. Even though the average age is around 50, there are actually some women who find themselves developing symptoms even in their 30's. Young women may ask, "Am I in this stage of life?" when irregular periods are noticed, even as a younger female.

Even though there is no hard and fast age that determines the onset in women in general, the average age of menopause has proven to be around 50. A woman is not considered to be truly in into this stage until she has gone a full year with no period. At this point, she is considered fully menopausal and no longer need wonder, "Am I in menopause?" After a year without a period, a woman is considered to have gone through menopause and enters what is called the postmenopausal period for the rest of her life. During the time of the onset of perimenopause and full blown menopause, there is a wide variety of symptoms that can affect any woman.

There are many typical symptoms that can affect many women whether they are at the average age or not such as hot flashes, irregular periods, moodiness, changes in the body, and other pronounced occurrences. The change in the estrogen and progesterone levels is proven to cause vaginal changes, bladder problems, emotional fluctuations, bone loss, and thinning of the skin. For those women who ask whether that stage of life has been reached, it is important to know what is taking place in order to offset some of the hormonal changes that take place.

For some women, there are dramatic changes in the body such as the onset of osteoporosis, heart disease, serious mood changes, memory loss, and weight gain. Other women who may or may not be within the that time frame, experience very little changes in their bodies except for cessation of periods and a few warm, flushes. Women who experience little changes in their bodies may typically ask, if they have reached that stage of life simply because of the dramatic changes they see in other women. There is no known reason why some women experience more dramatic symptoms during menopause than others.

Hormonal changes are the basis for menopause, but which women will experience heightened changes is not known. Women may need medical attention in order to get through these challenging years that are brought on by a change in the female hormonal balance. Others may breeze through with little problems and actually enjoy the changes that have occurred. Many women are thrilled at the prospect of no longer having a monthly period and enjoy life to the fullest. Other women can struggle with physical and emotional changes that are hard to manage alone. "Am I in menopause?" is not a hard question to answer for women who experience drastic symptoms.

Even though menopausal symptoms cause bodily changes that can have a negative affect on a woman's physical and emotional well being, there are several things that can be done to lessen or control the changes taking place. There may be a necessity to change to a healthier lifestyle in order to alleviate some of the menopausal symptoms for women who experience it at the average age of menopause as well as those who begin early. A healthy regimen of supplements such as vitamin D and calcium are necessary in order to offset the chances of osteoporosis. Also, a healthy diet with foods low in fat and high in protein are necessary in order to raise energy levels and to control the typical weight gain associated with menopausal women.

Aerobic exercise 3 or 4 days a week is very important for heart and vascular health for those who wonder if they have reached the average age of menopause even if there are not obvious changes yet in the body. Also, exercise that puts weight on the bones such as weight lifting, is important during the week in order to strengthen bones and fight osteoporosis. For some women who enter this stage at the average age or who are asking the question "Am I in menopause", it may seem like a daunting task to take care of ones health during these years of change. In order to get a plan to handle the problems involved during the often traumatic early years, helpful advice from a family doctor will help, as well as finding several online sources that help devise a plan for diet, exercise, stress reduction and healthy living. "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

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