Are you experiencing some “different things” & need some information about menopause?
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a normal condition that all women will experience as they age. The term “Menopause” can describe the period of time where there are changes that a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating. This time is also referred to as “The Change”. The end of menstruation marks the end of a woman’s reproductive period. The Chinese refer to this time as “The Second Spring”, which I think is lovely because it hints at the fact that this can be a time of growth for good, not just suffering through symptoms.
What Causes Menopause?
Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and menstruation stops. As we age our hormone production diminishes which affects ovulation and our reproductive cycle. Menstruation is governed by the ebb and flow of reproductive hormones such as Oestrogen, FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinising Hormone), AMH & Progesterone. When these hormones wane, the menstrual cycle changes: The cycle length can get shorter or longer and eventually it stops. Symptoms like mid-cycle spotting, insomnia and hot flashes may occur. Day 3 Blood Tests can determine your hormone levels and if you are starting to enter menopause.
Menopause is considered a normal part of aging when it begins to happen after the age of 40. Some women can begin to go through menopause earlier than 40 years of age. This can be as a result of surgery, such as hysterectomy, or there may be damage to the ovaries (such as from chemotherapy), there are also undiagnosed reasons why it happens earlier. Menopause that happens before the age of 40 is called premature menopause.
What is the Process of Menopause?
Natural menopause is not brought on by any type of medical or surgical treatment, the hormones that govern and direct a woman’s menstrual cycle start to diminish. The process is gradual and has 3 stages:
- Peri Menopause . This begins several years before a woman has her last period. This is when the ovaries gradually make less oestrogen and there is less Amh and more FSH is produced. Peri menopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1 to 2 years of perimenopause, the drop in oestrogen and progesterone increases. At this stage, many women have menopause symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, hot flushes, insomnia, weight gain, irritability, etc..
- Menopause. This is the point in time when a year has passed since a woman had her last menstrual period. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.
- Post menopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats, etc. ease for most women. However, health risks related to the loss of estrogen and progesterone rise as a woman ages so it is important to take good care of yourself.
Not sure if you are going through menopause or perimenopause?
What Conditions Cause Premature Menopause?
Premature menopause can be the result of genetics, autoimmune disorders or medical procedures. Other conditions that may cause early menopause include:
- Premature Ovarian Failure: This is when the ovaries prematurely stop releasing eggs. This can be hormonally driven. When this happens before the age of 40, it’s called premature ovarian failure. Unlike premature menopause, premature ovarian failure is not always permanent, the body can start producing the proper amounts of reproductive hormones needed to start ovulation again.
- Induced Menopause: Induced menopause happens when a woman is given medications to stop her cycle (may be for relief of endometriosis) or if the ovaries are surgically removed for medical reasons (such as uterine cancer). Induced menopause can also be a result of damage to the ovaries caused by radiation or chemotherapy.