Menopause is the time when your menstrual cycle stops. It is a natural decline in reproductive hormones and it generally occurs when woman reaches her 40s or 50s. Menopause occurs when a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period and can no longer become pregnant naturally.
Menopause usually begins in the age 45-55 and its average age is 51. Most women start to experience the menopausal symptoms about four years before their last period. Menopause can last for few months to several years.
Stages of Menopause:
Menstruation ends permanently with the natural menopause which does not happen because of any kind of medical treatment. This is a gradual process and happens in three stages.
Perimenopause - Perimenopause may begin 8 to 10 years before the actual menopause when your menstrual periods become irregular or you may skip one or more periods.
Menopause - Menopause is when you have no longer had menstrual periods. When your ovaries stop releasing eggs and stops producing most of their estrogen.
Postmenopause - Postmenopause is when you haven't had a period for an entire year. By this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, may get better. As a result of lower estrogen level, people in this phase are at an increased risk for health conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.
Signs and Symptoms of menopause:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Urinary urgency
- Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Dry skin, dry eyes, or dry mouth
How menopause affects the bone health?
As women enter menopause, their estrogen and progesterone levels start to decline. Low estrogen levels causes obesity, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. Estrogen acts as a natural protector and defender of bone strength. Menopause is not the only cause of osteoporosis; other factor may be responsible for weakened bones. When these other factors combine with low estrogen level osteoporosis may begin on a faster level.