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Menopause: What to Expect When Your Body is Changing.

¿What is menopause?

Menopause is the cessation of the functions of the ovaries. This happens because as a woman ages, her ovaries stop making enough of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.
Some things you may have heard about menopause may not be true. For example, Women do not lose interest in sex ore have more mood swings due to menopause.

When does menopause occur?

The average age for the last period in women is about 50 years. But it is normal for menopause to occur any time between 41 and 59 years. A woman often goes through menopause at about the same age as her mother.
Women who have both ovaries removed will go through “surgical menopause” at the time of surgery. If the uterus is removed but not the ovaries, a woman does not have periods but only go through menopause when her ovaries stop making estrogen.

If you stop having periods early – before 40 years, your doctor may do a blood test to see if you are going through menopause.
Menopause is a gradual process that takes several years. You have not completely gone through menopause until you have stopped having periods for six to twelve months. During this time, it is advisable to continue to use birth control method if you do not want to go pregnant.

Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • A change in your menstrual cycle.
  • Heavy bleeding.
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than normal.
  • Bleeding more often than every three weeks.
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • Any bleeding between periods.

¿What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?

Some women just stop having periods. Others experience symptoms such as:

A change in your menstrual cycle. This is one of the first signs of menopause. You may skip periods or they may occur more frequently. Your flow may be lighter than usual.
Hot flashes. Hot flashes are the most common symptoms of menopause.

When you have a fever you will feel hot from the chest to the head. Your skin may turn red and you may sweat. You may feel sick to your stomach and dizzy. You may also have headache and feel like your heart is beating very fast and strong.

Tips to lower the feeling of “hot flashes”.

  • Sleep in a cool room.
  • Dress in layers so you can remove clothing when you get too hot.
  • Wear cotton and other natural fibers so your body can “breathe”. Also use cotton bed sheets.
  • When a fever starts take cold water or other cold beverages.
  • Avoid alcohol.

Thinning of the vagina and vulva (the area around you vagina). The skin of your vagina and vulva becomes thinner with menopause. Your vagina also loses its ability to produce as much lubrication (wetness) during sexual arousal. These changes can cause pain during intercourse.
An estrogen cream placed in and around your vagina or a water-based lubricant, such as KY Jelly will make sex less painful.

Urinary tract problems: It is more likely to have bladder infections and urinary tract infections during and after menopause. Talk to your doctor if you have to go to the bathroom often, feel the urge to urinate, feel a burning sensation during urination or are unable to urinate.
Headaches, night sweats, trouble sleeping and fatigue are other symptoms. Difficulty sleeping and feeling tired may be caused by hot flashes and night sweats.


¿Does menopause have emotional symptoms?

Many women experience emotional symptoms during menopause. These symptoms may include sadness, anxiety and loss of sleep. For some women, symptoms can be severe. If you find that you are having emotional problems. Talk to your doctor.


¿What is HRT?

HRT means Hormone replacement therapy which involves taking estrogen alone or combined with another hormone like progestin. Some women have found that HRT can relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and urinary problems. However, HRT is not for everybody. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT.


¿Are there other treatments available?

Yes, Medications such as estrogen cream, antidepressants, soya products and herbal supplements can help reduce some symptoms of menopause. Discuss these options with your doctor.