Menopause and menopause are natural phases in a woman’s life, marking the transition from the reproductive to the non-reproductive period. Although these events are inevitable, understanding the changes that occur during menopause and menopause can help women cope with them more easily.
Climacteric: The Transition Phase
The climacteric is a transition phase that normally begins around the age of 40, but can vary from one woman to another. It is not a phase defined by a single event, such as menopause, but rather a period that encompasses various physical and hormonal changes.
During the climacteric period, many women experience a series of symptoms, which can vary in intensity and duration. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Menstrual irregularities: Menstruations may become irregular in terms of duration and flow.
- Hot flashes (hot flashes): Sudden episodes of intense heat in the face, neck and upper part of the body, often accompanied by sweating, palpitations and discomfort.
- Sleep changes: Difficulty sleeping or insomnia.
- Mood changes: Variations in mood, irritability and even depression.
- Urogenital problems: These include vaginal dryness, decreased libido, pain during sex, and urinary incontinence.
- Changes in skin, hair and nails: Loss of firmness, thinning and fragility.
- Changes in body fat distribution: Fat accumulation tends to be concentrated in the abdominal region.
- Loss of bone mass: This can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases: Heart health can be affected after menopause.
Menopause: The End of Menstruations
Menopause is a specific milestone within the climacteric. It is defined retrospectively after 12 consecutive months without menstruation. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but the exact age can vary.
Menopause is characterized by the date of a woman’s last menstrual period. However, many of the symptoms experienced during menopause, such as hot flashes and mood changes, can persist after menopause.
Causes of menopause:
Menopause is primarily caused by natural changes in female hormones, specifically estrogen. These hormonal changes occur as a woman ages and her ovaries begin to decrease hormone production. The main causes of menopause include:
- Aging: The most significant factor in menopause is aging. As a woman ages, her ovaries begin to lose their ability to produce eggs and sex hormones such as estrogen.
- Follicle Atresia: From birth, a woman’s ovary contains a finite number of follicles. Over time, these follicles become depleted, a process called follicular atresia. When there are no more follicles available, the production of sex hormones decreases significantly.
- Genetic Factors: Genetics plays a role in determining the age at which a woman enters menopause. If a woman’s mother or sisters went through menopause at an early age, she may also be at greater risk of going through the same process earlier.
- Gynecological Surgeries: Surgical removal of the ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) can cause early menopause, as this organ is responsible for producing estrogen during the reproductive phase.
- Illnesses or Medical Treatments: Some medical treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer, can affect the function of the ovaries and lead to early menopause. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as premature ovarian failure, can cause menopause before age 40.
It is important to note that menopause is a natural and inevitable process in a woman’s life. As hormone levels decrease, physical changes and symptoms associated with this condition occur, such as hot flashes, menstrual irregularities, and mood changes.
How to deal with Climacteric and Menopause:
Consult a doctor: A gynecologist can help you better understand your body during menopause and menopause and provide specific guidance.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): In some cases, HRT may be recommended to relieve serious symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. However, the risks and benefits should be discussed with a doctor.
Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can help reduce some of the symptoms of menopause and promote general health.
Emotional Support: Share your concerns and experiences with friends, family or support groups.
Routine Exams: Continue with routine exams, such as mammograms, Pap smears, bone densitometry and others recommended by your doctor, even after menopause.
Stay informed: Educate yourself about menopause and menopause to understand what is happening to your body and what changes are normal.
Dealing with menopause and menopause can be challenging, but it’s not something you need to face alone. With adequate support and a healthy lifestyle, it is possible to go through these phases of life with peace of mind and well-being. Consulting a doctor is the first step to getting specific, personalized guidance for your individual needs.
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