Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s aging process. It is defined as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and fertility. It is considered a normal part of the aging process if it occurs when the woman is at least 40 years old. If it occurs before then, it is considered premature. Premature menopause is typically caused by an illness, injury, or medical procedure like chemotherapy that damages the reproductive organs or a surgical procedure in which the organs are removed.
Natural menopause goes through three stages: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Perimenopause is the period in which the ovaries gradually make less and less estrogen. It usually starts when a woman is in her 40s and can last anywhere from a few months to ten years. The average length of this stage is four years. During the last year or two, the woman’s estrogen levels drop precipitously and she starts experiencing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
A woman is said to have entered menopause when it has been a year since her last period. By this time, her ovaries are no longer releasing eggs, and they are making very little estrogen. In the United States, the average age of a woman entering this stage is 51. In post-menopause, the woman stops experiencing most menopausal symptoms. Unfortunately, the decline in estrogen productions increases the risks of developing certain health conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, or female incontinence. A woman’s muscles lose their tone, and the skin becomes less elastic.
Additional Things to Consider
In most cases, this natural life phase does not require medical treatment. However, the patient may want to take advantage of hormone therapy if she is having severe symptoms like uncontrollable mood swings or hot flashes.
A woman who has entered this phase needs to realize that her risk of developing certain health problems or diseases has increased. Therefore, she will need to take steps to prevent them. For example, exercise and a healthy diet become more important than ever, for they can prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. A menopausal woman may want to start taking certain supplements to keep her bones strong.
Contact Us Today to Learn More
Whether you are preparing for menopause or you are in the midst of this life phase, the team at Envoque MD can help you. During a consultation at our office in Mesa or Scottsdale, you can learn more information about what to expect, as well as your available treatment options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.