menopause

 

Menopause is a condition or fact of life, that all women reach depending on age and a numerous of other factors.

On a micro-level – this condition develops when a women becomes unable to reproduce reproductive hormones.

The exact wording means “an end to monthly cycles“.

Often menopause occurs in women when their monthly cycles do stop.

It is the opposite of menarche or the beginning of menses

The action results in an change in the Uterus – causing the stoppage of menses, but the real action takes place in the Ovaries

 

Classification:

Without Uterus –  When FSH levels become elevated

With Uterus  –  Stoppage of menses

 

Clarification

Example #1:

In a young women who has had her uterus removed (Hysterectomy) will often experience a loss if fertility and a loss of monthly menses.

Her ovaries and the release of reproductive hormones often will still occur. [This is assuming that she has at least 1 ovary remaining]. As long as those hormones continue – she has not reached menopause.

Example #2:

If a young women has both ovaries removed  (Oophorectomy) No additional reproductive hormones are produced. She has reached a “surgical menopause“.

early_menopause

 

Causes:

  • Natural progression
  • Evolutionary adaptation
  • Surgical

Age

  • Often occurs naturally between ages 45 and 55
  • The average is different depending on country
  • If occurs prior to 40 – it is called premature ovarian failure

***  – Smokers may experience menopause at an earlier age

Associated Classifications

1.)  Perimenopause

  • The relative time around the transition to the final menses
  • Decrease in production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
  • Fertility decreases dramatically – but it is not at 0%
  • Age is often mid to late 40s

2.)  Premenopause

  • Hormone level is very low
  • Just prior to menopause
  • Effects of hormone loss may be present

3.)  Postmenopause

  • Following menopause
  • Occurs 12 months following last period and spotting – at that point she is 1 year into postmenopause
  • Women is infertile
  • If not uterus – FSH levels will be very elevated

menopause-2

 Symptoms

  • Night Sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue

Skin changes

  • Breast atrophy
  • Thinning of skin
  • Skin itching or burning

 

Vaginal changes

  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Discharge
  • Urinary changes
  • Increased risk for UTIs and vaginitis

Psychological changes

  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Decreased Sleep

Sexual changes

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Increased difficulty reaching orgasms
  • Painful intercourse

Treatment and Management

  • Since menopause is natural – often no treatment is required

When is treatment needed?

  • This question can be answered by a medical provider but in cases of mental, emotional, and/or physical changes are severe, then an evaluation be necessary.

menopause-medicaton

Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Several risks are present
  • Symptoms should outweighs the risks
  • Replacement of estrogen and progesterone
  • May decrease sex drive in males
    .  Medroxyprogesterone

Antidepressants

.  Paxil
.  Prozac
.  Effexor

Vaginal moisturizers

Vaginal lubricants

Vaginal Estrogen

Diet

Support groups

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