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April 29, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Menopause Overview

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

Menopause is a natural occurrence in a womans body. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), menopause typically takes place at the age of 51, though some women may go through this phase in their lives earlier or later.

Definition of Menopause

The precise definition of menopause means cessation of blood flow. Typically, menopause occurs over a specific timeline with three distinct cycles taking place: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause: In the six or more years prior to menopause a womans body goes through what is called perimenopause. During this time, a variety of changes may take place. Periods may become erratic, shorter or longer, and blood flow may also be considerably less or considerably more. This is because perimenopause is a transitional stage, the time when a womans body begins to gear up for what is often simply referred to as the change. Menopause: Menopause is defined by a womans last menstrual cycle. Menopause is a relatively short span in a womans life. It takes place immediately following a womans last period and counting 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. All years afterward are called postmenopause. Postmenopause: After the first 12 months of missed periods, and for the remainder of her life, a woman passes into what is referred to as postmenopause. Today, menopause and postmenopause are understood better and there are a variety of ways to treat secondary problems that come with the change. Unfortunately, in the olden days the main reason the change was significant was because it was often the beginning of the end. Due to significant changes in the body, caused by lack of estrogen, bones often begin to deteriorate and heart attacks and strokes become more prevalent. Today physicians are more knowledgeable and women more informed. Though issues caused by lack of estrogen still exist, there are also many medical and natural ways to combat the lack of estrogen in postmenopausal women.

Symptoms Associated with Menopause

Signs and symptoms that occur during menopause can be hard to pinpoint as menopausal symptoms simply because they include just about anything from body changes to trouble sleeping and are often dismissed as aches and pains of old age. Symptoms differ from woman to woman, of course, but most women experience at least some of the following symptoms during menopause:

  • Thinning hair
  • Headaches
  • Memory issues
  • Itchy eyes
  • Tooth decay
  • Depression
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Sagging skin
  • Feminine dryness
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Urine leakage
  • Achy knees
  • Weight gain

Menopause: The Last Hurrah

Often a womans body will go through what is called the last hurrah. The last hurrah is basically a period or bleeding after several months of cessation. Remember you must have had 12 consecutive months without a period before you can assume you are in menopause. So, if a last hurrah does occur, the 12-month menstrual-free countdown restarts on the following month. More importantly, while a last hurrah is not uncommon, any vaginal bleeding during or after menopause is considered abnormal and warrants contacting your physician. Abnormal vaginal bleeding following menopause can be one of the first indications of a serious health issue, such as cancer. Sources:

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  • Very informative. Thanks for sharing!

  • Informative read. Would like to hear from others who have gone or are going through surgical menopause.

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