What is Menopause?
Menopause marks the ending of the menstrual cycle in women. When a woman no longer has a menstrual cycle for a period of twelve months she has become a postmenopausal woman. Menopause usually occurs in woman between the ages of 35 and 55.
The age in which you may begin your menstrual cycle varies. Some young ladies may start pre teen while others not until late teens. A female usually experiences a menstrual cycle every 21 – 28 days and the cycle will usually last 5 – 7 days in length.
The menstrual cycle begins when an egg breaks out of the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube to rest on the uterine wall. It is this process that prepares women for pregnancy. If the egg gets fertilized it will attach to the wall and begin to develop a baby. When the egg doesn’t get fertilized the uterus flushes it causing the menstrual period.
The ovary which is the reproductive gland of the female, is no larger than an almond and comes in a pair, one on each side of the uterus located in the pelvis. The ovaries produce many of the female hormones which gives women their shapes, breasts, and body hair. One female hormone, estrogen, also helps protect women’s bones. When a woman hits menopause her ovaries cease to produce. This can also lower the female hormones especially estrogen and allows menopausal women to become prone to osteoporosis.
Signs of Menopause
When a woman begins menopause she may notice her menstrual cycle becoming shorter or longer or she may notice a change in blood flow. The cycles may become different in more than one way at a time. The age at which these signs start may vary just as the starting of the menstrual cycle age. You may begin to experience hot flashes or become very moody and emotional. You may cry at the drop of a hat or over something very trivial. This period is sometimes referred to as perimenopause. Perimenopause isn’t a true medical term but it is used to describe the period of time from the onset of menopausal symptoms to the completion of menopause. Menopausal symptoms vary for each individual and it can last for up to ten years before actual menopause. Some woman find the need for medications to help reduce symptoms, while others may need hormone replacement drugs to control their symptoms. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe birth control to regulate the menstrual cycle during perimenopause. A woman’s experience of her last menstrual cycle is also different. Some will just stop while others may have a flooding of flow, some compare this flow gush to hemorrhaging.
Postmenopause, a true clinical term, refers to all the time after the menstrual cycle stops. Post menopausal woman are more susceptible to a range of conditions due to the lack of hormones. It may be necessary for some individuals to have some type of hormone replacement drugs to maintain a normal lifestyle. Doctors will check the age of when your mother and grandmother went through menopause to estimate what age you can expect to begin menopause. Again it would only be an estimation because it is different for every woman.