Menopause naturally occurs around the age of 51 when the ovaries stop secreting the female hormones of oestrogen and progesterone. The process towards menopause is progressive and this period of time is termed pre-menopause.
Menopause is defined by the absence of periods for a year. Menopause can be linked to a set of symptoms called the climacteric or menopausal syndrome.
This is the period of time that precedes menopause.
Its length varies from woman to woman and it sometimes presents no symptoms at all other than irregular periods (longer or shorter). Other times hormonal secretions from the ovaries can contribute to symptoms that are the typical premenstrual ones including a feeling of being bloated, irritability, breast tenderness, irritability, and weight gain.
During pre-menopause women’s fertility rates drop.
- Menopause and the climacteric syndrome:
This concerns a set of symptoms whose intensity can vary from woman to woman, maybe not appear at all, or can sometimes diminish quickly.
They can include:
- Hot flushes sometimes accompanied by night sweats of varying intensity leaving some women feeling quite unwell
- Vaginal dryness and this is linked to a decline in oestrogen
- Dry skin, weight gain, decreased libido, and mood swings
- Osteoporosis where the demineralization of the bones makes them lose their density and strength
Women experiencing some or all of this set of premenopausal and menopausal signs should seek an assessment consultation and then follow up with regular monitoring so as to adapt treatments according their changing needs