Menopause is a time full of new challenges and changes in the mind and body of women. It is a period that can scare many women and that is why I write the following blog so they learn in advance what they may face and some frequently asked questions that women can ask themselves during this new stage of their lives.
What is menopause and climacteric?
Menopause is defined as the complete cessation of menstruation for a year, it is considered normal after 40 years and early if it appears before this age. On the other hand, the climacteric is a stage of several years that ranges from before menopause (perimenopause) to after it (postmenopause). It is in this time interval that the person presents the typical symptoms of this new period of life and is usually accompanied by menstruation irregularities.
What symptoms can appear in menopause?
The presence of “hot flashes” , insomnia, alterations in mood and genitourinary alterations are normal. Not all women will present the symptoms.
- Hot flashes or flushes
They are sudden changes in the sensation of temperature of the woman that can appear before the cessation of menstruation, usually described as heat in the upper part of the body that in some cases can be accompanied by sweating and chills. This symptom is more marked in obese women and smokers, in addition in 80% of women this symptom can last a year, but there is a proportion of women who can present it for longer.
It is one of the most recurrent symptoms during the climacteric and one of the ones that can generate the most discomfort for both women and family members.
- Altered mood
It is common to find emotional instability at this stage, with episodes of anxiety and sudden mood swings. It will depend on the psychosocial context of the patient.
- Genitourinary disorders:
Vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness are usually present that can lead to pain during sexual intercourse, which leads to a decrease in pleasure during intercourse. These symptoms can persist over time if they do not receive adequate treatment.
Muscle aches, urinary incontinence, increased fat around the abdomen, and memory disturbances.
What is not normal during menopause?
- Pain in various joints or morning stiffness.
- Deep feeling of sadness.
- Unjustified weight loss
- Difficulty in carrying out daily activities (shopping, keeping track of money or disorientation).
What diseases can appear after menopause?
Women must be aware of the increased risk of certain diseases after menopause in order to help their family doctor to prevent them and thus avoid a deterioration in the quality of life.
Among the diseases we find:
- Increased cardiovascular risk: Which is due in part to an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL).
- Osteoporosis: The increased risk of this disease occurs becasue without female hormones the ability to generate new bone is decreased.
Should tests be performed to diagnose menopause?
No, tests should be performed in case of suspected other diseases or if menopause appears before the age of 40. On the other hand, your family doctor may perform certain tests to verify the status of lipids, other elements in the blood and in those over 60 years the need for tests to rule out osteoporosis.
Is there a drug-free treatment for menopause?
Throughout history, various substances have been found that are attributed to help women with climacteric symptoms, however, their efficacy has not been demonstrated in the experimental field, that is why despite being used with often, it’s use does not imply a definitive solution to the symptoms that women present. Care should be taken with the consumption of these foods if there is a history of cardiovascular disease, a history of thrombotic events or some types of cancer such as breast, uterine or ovary.
- Perform aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week.
- Have a balanced diet that includes: decrease saturated fats, decrease the consumption of refined sugars
- Do not Smoking
- Do not consume alcohol in excess
- Avoid the consumption of spicy foods.
- Use vaginal lubricants or moisturizers for vaginal dryness, keeping in mind that it is a solution for mild cases.
- In case of insomnia you can read the insomnia blog
- For memory disorders it is recommended: fish consumption, social activities, reading, crossword puzzles or activities that require concentration.
Is there a drug treatment for menopause?
First, it must be remembered that menopause and climacteric are normal changes that every woman will present, starting from this fact, the administration of medications is not recommended in all cases, but only in those whose symptoms do not allow an adequate quality of life for the woman. There are two possible ways to manage the symptoms of menopause, which are hormonal and non-hormonal therapy, the choice of medications should be made by a medical professional with experience in this field, so if there are very marked symptoms, you should attend an evaluation by your family doctor.
In addition, not all women can receive hormonal therapy, some examples of contraindication are: women over 60 years of age, history of breast cancer, history of thromboembolism and / or vascular diseases.
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