End of the monthly menstrual cycle in women is termed as menopause. It is diagnosed after absence of menstruation for twelve months or more. It is a common physiological phenomenon that occurs in all women, usually around the age 50. Some adverse symptoms such as hot flashes and emotional disturbance can be experienced as a side-effect of this state.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon in women and results from a natural decline of reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone). This state may also be present in cases of hysterectomies, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or primary ovarian insufficiency.
Symptoms of this health condition are a by-product of a changing hormonal status in a woman and varies widely from person to person. These include:
- Irregularity in periods before the time of menopause
- Vaginal dryness
- Chills or night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbance
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Thinning of hair
- Dry skin
- Loss of breast tissue
Some complications that can arise due to hormonal imbalances during this stage include cardiovascular disease, Osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, decline in sexual functionality, and weight gain.
Menopause is clinically diagnosed after 12 months of absence of menstruation and perimenopausal symptoms, and hormonal level changes. Tests to rule out thyroid abnormalities may also be conducted.
Menopause usually requires no treatment. Management of the adverse symptoms can be gained through estrogen therapy, vaginal estrogen, anti-depressants, and drugs to manage Osteoporosis and other complications.