Menopause is generally a natural process affecting women in their 40’s and 50’s. In the U.S., the average age of the occurrence of menopause is 51.
Menopause is the phase in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle ends permanently due to low levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones produced by the ovaries. Women are born with finite numbers of eggs, stored in the ovaries; ovulation and consequently menses, are controlled by these ovarian hormones. Hence, menopause can be described as the termination of the ovaries’ primary functions. Although this process may signify the end of a woman’s fertile cycle, many post-menopausal women enjoy healthy, active sex lives.
Diagnosis of menopause is outlined as the cessation of the menstrual cycle for a span twelve months. Menopause can also be an induced process, due to factors such as surgery or medication, or can occur prematurely.
Symptoms of Menopause
The process of menopause is unique for each woman. Some women are more sensitive to these hormonal changes while other women do not report any significant changes. Symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Sudden changes in mood; mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary problems (UTI, incontinence, and bladder irritation)
- Changes in libido
- Changes in metabolism
- Weight gain
- Hair thinning
- Difficulty sleeping
- Joint pain
Types of Menopause
Premature Menopause - Menopause that occurs before the age of 40 is considered premature or early menopause. Premature menopause can occur on its own or be caused by medical or surgical procedures.
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid diseases
- Chromosomal defects
- Genetics or family history or early menopause
Medically Induced Causes
- Surgical removal of ovaries (oophorectomy) or uterus (hysterectomy)
- Radiation or chemotherapy to the pelvis
Menopause - When a woman no longer has her regular period, she is considered menopausal, which means the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and estrogen levels have significantly diminished.
Perimenopause or menopausal transition - Peri, which refers to the several years before menopause actually occurs, is associated with irregular periods, migraines, loss of bone density, breast tenderness, urinary incontinence, low libido, sleep issues, hot flashes, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and weight gain.
Menopause Root Causes
- Loss of estrogen and progesterone
- FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) levels
Depression Diet & Lifestyle Changes
- Eat organic, locally grown, unrefined, low sugar foods. Normalizing insulin levels is an important step in maintaining hormone levels.
- Regular exercise, which can combat stress, boost serotonin levels, and help normalize sleep, is a great way to remedy ailing symptoms.
- Prevention, diet, and lifestyle are valuable factors in the fight against menopause, but for a more hands-on approach - consider getting your hormones tested. Tailor-made for each individual, bio-identicals, which are exactly the same hormones your body makes on a daily basis, have been used for many years to safely balance the female cycle.
- Consume high-quality, healthy fats from food and supplement sources (fish oil, krill oil, hemp, flax).
- Avoid trans-fats, refined carbohydrates, and empty calories in foods, which tends to raise estrogen to abnormal levels.
- Green tea, polyphenols associated with lowered heart risk, exert HRT like benefits, protects cells against oxidative stress, and carries 17 times more antioxidant protection than blueberries.
- In order to relieve some of the stress associated with menopausal changes, try meditation, visualization, or a session of yoga.
- If you are smoking, please seek helpful management techniques and treatment.
- To avoid hot flashes, skip the cocktails, wear light clothing, and keep the bedroom cool.