Menopause, also called climacteric, is the natural biological process through which a woman ceases to menstruate permanently. It’s diagnosed after a woman completes 12 months without a menstrual period. The average age for the onset of menopause is 51 years.
Menopause – The Hormone “Roller-coaster”
The three most common stages of typical menopause involve the following:
Peri-menopause- Reduced production of estrogen and progesterone by ovaries. Ovaries are the main source of female hormones.
Menopause- This condition causes the body to make fewer RBCs and hemoglobin, thus resulting in low levels of MCH.
Post-menopause- It is the time after its identified by a blood test showing very high levels of FSH and low levels of estrogen.
A female body undergoes several hormonal (progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone) changes before, during, and after menopause:
The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test is the key test to determine whether a woman has entered or not into menopause. When ovaries stop producing enough estrogen, FSH levels shoot upwards observed as physical signs like nausea, back pain, and dry itchy skin. High FSH levels but with irregular menses are a sign of premature ovarian failure. Estrogen levels fluctuate due to excessive exercise and low body fat but low estrogen and testosterone levels and high FSH levels without menses for one year can be considered full-fledged. This typically shows symptoms of vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Since menopause and hypothyroidism share similar symptoms, thyroid tests are also recommended to diagnose suspected cases.
Low levels of estrogen linked with menopause lead to several health problems like;
1. Hot flashes: Feeling of heat on neck and face.
2. Osteoporosis: Weak bone and loss of bone density.
3. Vaginal problems: Vaginal dryness and constant irritation.
4. Heart problems: Fluctuating blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions.
Menopause – This is the beginning of a new phase, enjoy every part of it!