Menopause occurs 12 months after a woman has had her last period. It usually takes place when a woman is between the ages of 40 and 50, however, many women have experienced menopause as early as 35 years old. Although menopause ends fertility, this natural biological process does not affect your health, vitality or sexuality. In fact, some women feel relieved when they reach menopause because they no longer have to worry about pregnancy.
For some women, the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt their sleep, lower their energy levels, and trigger feelings of anxiety. In the months - or years - leading up to menopause (known as perimenopause), many women experience these signs and symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
If you are feeling one of those symptoms, seek professional help, because there are many effective treatments available for the symptoms of menopause.
Although menopause can be the result of a natural decline int he reproductive hormones - usually occurring in your late 30s when your ovaries start producing less oestrogen and progesterone - it can also be the result of many other factors, including:
Hysterectomy - A hysterectomy that removes the uterus but not the ovaries.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy - These cancer therapies can induce menopause, causing symptoms such as hot flashes during or shortly after the course of treatment.
Primary ovarian insufficiency - Menopause may result from primary ovarian insufficiency — when your ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones — stemming from genetic factors or autoimmune disease.