Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s life cycle, which leads to the end of her menstrual cycle.
It can occur anytime between the ages of 47 and 55 years. However, in some cases, women can enter the menopause phase even before they reach the threshold of 47 years. This is called ‘Premature Menopause.’ Also, sometimes early menopause can occur as a result of surgery, medication or treatments such as chemotherapy. For instance, a woman may opt to remove both her ovaries by undergoing an operation and hence, trigger a type of menopause known as ‘Surgical Menopause.’
During menopause, the body produces fewer female hormones and stops producing eggs completely. As is obvious, menopausal women can’t get pregnant naturally. They also begin experiencing certain signs and symptoms, which affect their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Most of these are caused due to fluctuating hormone levels. Although home-based hormone imbalance tests are able to detect this condition, getting a thorough idea of ‘how hormones can influence menopause’ is an absolute must.
Here are some facts that can help women connect the dots between hormonal imbalance and menopause:
1) Their menstrual cycles get affected: One of the tell-tale signs of menopause is an irregular menstrual cycle, which is caused due to fluctuating levels of the hormone, estrogen. The duration of the periods, the gaps between consecutive periods, and the flow of the periods can increase or decrease. This continues until the menstrual cycle comes to a definite halt.
2) They will experience a wide range of symptoms: As a woman starts approaching menopause, she may experience a wide range of symptoms, which can include but are not limited to mood swings, hot flashes, fatigue, irritability, and mental fogginess. Even their sexual well-being gets affected with urinal incontinence, vaginal dryness, and low libido. Alternately, some women may suffer from depression, sadness or anxiety and become susceptible to bone loss, hair loss, fractures (osteoporosis), and heart disease. However, these signs disappear post the menopause phase
3) They can opt for hormonal therapy as a treatment: When hormonal therapy is opted for by menopausal women, they experience relief from various hormonal disorders like vaginal dryness, night sweats, and hot flashes. It is important to know that the therapy can also increase the risk of blood clots in the limbs just like birth control pills along with chances of strokes. It can also increase the risk of breast cancer, if conducted for 5 years or more. For instance, if 10,000 women took EPT (Estrogen-Progestin therapy) for a year, it would lead up to 8 more cases of breast cancer per year as opposed to when they don’t take up the therapy.
4) They can’t always depend on hormone therapy: Hormone therapy may be great for women approaching menopause, but they can’t always rely on it. The therapy is not for women who may be pregnant or those who have suffered certain types of cancers, stroke, heart attack, liver disease, or blood clots, or even those who have experienced vaginal bleeding problems.
5) They won’t always gain weight during menopause: A prevalent myth associated with menopause is that women tend to gain weight rapidly when they reach this phase. It is true that keeping weight in check will get trickier, but that’s only because the body is trying to protect itself by storing fat around the waist, thighs and hips when it starts getting estrogen-deficient.
A well-balanced diet targeted at this problem can help women control their weight during menopause and even afterwards, provided that they follow it to a T.
6) They will still produce hormones after menopause: When women are past the menopause stage, they continue to have female hormones produced in their body. But then, the levels of estrogen and progesterone turn out to be abysmally low and are mainly produced by the adrenal glands. However, they will never go completely missing.
7) They can rely on saliva hormone home test kits to check hormone imbalance: Detecting hormone imbalance is now easier than ever. Several home-based hormone testing kits allow women to detect hormone imbalance that hint at menopause. The saliva hormone home test kit is one of the popular options because it accurately measures the availability of the hormones Cortisol, Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA in the body, and detects their presence at the cellular level. Other methods of testing hormone imbalance include serum or blood testingandfollicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) testing.
Menopause is an inevitable change for all women. While they can’t avoid it entirely, they can educate themselves about various factors that affect their hormones before, during and after the phase. This will enable them to become more aware and take care of themselves in a much better manner when their body goes through the drastic change.