Menopause is characterized by the cessation of menstruation and the beginning of a stage known as climacteric. That is, it is a transition between the fertile period and old age. The average age of onset of menopause is 51 years, although it usually occurs between the ages of 48 and 54.
In cases where menopause appears before the age of 40, it is defined as premature ovarian failure or early menopause. On the other hand, in the case of women whose periods do not disappear until after the age of 55, it is called late menopause.
It occurs when a woman begins to progressively lose her ovarian function and the production of female hormones, such as estrogens and progesterone, decreases. Although it is not a disease, in most women it presents bothersome symptoms that can alter their quality of life, social relationships and work performance.
Changes in women
The repercussions of menopause on the organism are variable and depend on each person, but they are mainly related to endocrine aspects that have repercussions on weight gain, changes in the figure, mood alterations and worsening of the sexual life.
– Figure changes: this period of life is related to hormonal and metabolic changes that can increase body fat, especially abdominal fat. Body fat, which at age 20 is 26%, rises to 33% at age 40 and 42% at age 50. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle accelerates this process. This aspect is important, as it not only has aesthetic consequences but also cardiovascular ones.
– Mood alterations: these are manifested by a tendency to sadness, decreased energy, fatigue, lack of concentration, anxiety, irritability and aggressiveness.
– Changes in sex life: many women tend to think that with menopause their sex life may worsen or disappear. While it is true that the lack of estrogen produces vaginal dryness, and this greatly affects sexual desire and response, it is a disorder that can be easily treated in expert hands.
Hot flashes and insomnia, the symptoms of menopause
One of the main symptoms that indicate that a woman is in perimenopause or menopause are hot flashes. They are characterized by a sudden feeling of heat and anxiety, which causes an increase in blood flow in the neck, chest and face. In some cases it is accompanied by palpitations and sweating.
Hot flashes occur mainly between 2 and 5 years after the last menstrual period, although there are women who suffer from them for much longer.
Another symptom that usually develops during menopause is insomnia, which is usually related to hot flashes, so women can recover the quality of sleep with treatment.
The phases of menopause
The loss of hormones does not occur suddenly and, in most cases, there is usually a period of perimenopause that lasts about 5 years. At this stage there are changes in menstruation, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, as well as changes in the distribution of body mass.
Premenopause is followed by menopause. The onset of menopause is marked by the date of the last menstrual period, when the fertile period disappears.
Postmenopause follows menopause, an indeterminate period that precedes old age.
The importance of cardiovascular care
In the postmenopausal stage, the state of the cardiovascular system must be taken into account, since it is one of the most important aspects of women’s health.
Estrogens develop a vasodilator action and, therefore, protect against possible cardiovascular diseases. That is, by maintaining vascular flow, they help control cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
For this reason, given the loss of estrogen, it is necessary to take care of the aspects related to cardiovascular health, performing frequent check-ups and taking into account risk factors such as smoking, stress and sedentary lifestyle.
Hormonal Treatment of Menopause (HTM)
First of all, it is necessary to evaluate the woman’s stage of development and the symptoms she presents, since, although most women can use it without risk, it is not indicated for all of them. For this reason, it is important that the indication and administration of the Menopausal Hormone Treatment is performed by a specialist in Menopause.
This technique consists of the administration of hormones produced by the ovary in sufficient quantities at menopause to alleviate negative symptoms such as decreased sexual desire, depression, mood swings and hot flashes.