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By marsyk on 2011-05-19 11:46:45
Menopause is not an illness or disease; it is a normal phase of development that all women go through when their fertility and menstruation begin to decrease. But even though it is not an illness, it is advised that you seek treatment for your symptoms if they become severe or start in impact your daily life. Menopause can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression and any one of these symptoms can have negative long term impacts. Unfortunately there are the still irritating but less treatable problems such as hot flashes and mood swings. If you are having trouble coping with menopause, especially in the case of anxiety or depression, please visit your doctor.
In the United States the average onset of menopause is between 45- 55. In other countries it may occur earlier. For women undergoing natural menopause, menopause is defined in medical terms as the day after your last period is over. After one year of no periods, you are considered infertile and don’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. There are a lot of unknowns in menopause. Currently it’s unknown why some women get more severe symptoms than others and there are some racial differences with some races having fewer and less severe symptoms. Not so surprising is the fact that smokers typically will enter menopause a much earlier than non-smokers. One fact that is surprising is both fraternal and identical twins go into menopause much earlier than most women. About 5% of twins go into menopause before 40 years old.
Prior to menopause occurring there is a transitional phase that is called perimenopause. Again, severity of symptoms and the age at which it will begin varies. In most cases, perimenopause begins in the mid to late 40’s. Perimenopause symptoms are the same as the symptoms experienced during menopause. Basically perimenopause is simply the very start of the menopausal phase.
Some of the more common menopause and perimenopause symptoms are:
Irregular bleeding and periods
Pain during intercourse
Loss of sex drive
Inability to get restful sleep
Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
Loss of skin elasticity
It’s unfortunate that not of lot of information is available about reliable treatment options for women in menopause. Until recently Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was the standard treatment for menopause, but all this changed several years ago when studies showed that HRT caused an increase in certain types of cancers. Because of this information, women began going off of hormone therapy in droves.