Sunday, June 8, 2008

Menopause and Its Symptoms Q&A

Here we look at some basic questions about menopause and its symptoms, such as ?What are the symptoms of menopause?? and ?What is menopause??

What is menopause?

Technically, menopause means ?cessation of menstruation? or when a woman has no menstrual periods for more than a year, indicating that she is no longer fertile. It occurs in most women around the age of 50, unless loss of the ovaries due to illness or injury causes it to occur earlier. In some women it occurs as early as age 40. Menopause before age 40 is considered premature menopause and occurs in about 1% of all women. The term ?menopause? is commonly used to describe the period of time leading up to ?actual? menopause.

What is perimenopause?

Perimenopause is a term used to describe the months or years leading up to menopause. This is when women often say that they are ?going through menopause? and its symptoms become evident.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause and its symptoms vary. Some women experience no symptoms, other than irregular periods for several months preceding actual menopause. Most women experience hot flashes and/or night sweats. Some women have mood swings, trouble sleeping and vaginal dryness. Many women have bladder control problems. Other symptoms may include fatigue, headache, depression, irritability, heart palpitations, joint and muscle pain. Some women have decreased sex drive, are less easily aroused or less sensitive. Some experience discomfort during sex, sometimes due to vaginal dryness or to a thinning of vaginal tissue. Others enjoy sex more, once pregnancy concerns have passed. Women are unique, thus menopause and its symptoms are unique among women.

What are the symptoms of menopause caused by?

The symptoms associated with menopause are caused by decreased levels of estrogen and other hormones. Each woman is born with a limited number of egg cells in the ovaries. As the number of egg cells nears depletion, the amount of estrogen and other hormones produced by the ovaries diminishes.

What are the symptoms of menopause treated with?

For many years, hormone replacement therapy was the treatment of choice for menopause and its symptoms. Concerns over long term health risks have many doctors and their patients considering alternatives, particularly when decreasing levels of estrogen are bothersome at an early age. Lifestyle and dietary changes have helped many women deal with menopause and its symptoms. The herb black cohosh is one of the most commonly suggested remedies for hot flashes and night sweats, but a number of other herbs, vitamins and plant components may be helpful as well.

For more information, please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide.

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience in health care and currently writes informational articles for the Menopause and PMS Guide. Learn more about menopause and treatment options at

Labels: , , , ,