Signs of Menopause Essay
Signs of Menopause Essay
Menopause basically is the final menstrual period. It is generally an irreversible process and part of the general aging process of a woman’s reproductive system. Peacock and Ketvertis(2022) define menopause as the time at which permanent cessation of menses occurs evidenced by 12 months of amenorrhea in the absence of hormone contraceptives. The purpose of this paper is to explore various terminologies of menopause, signs of menopause, and life changes that influence menopause. The paper will further explore osteoporosis and traditional and alternative therapies for conditions associated with menopause.
Perimenopause is a transitional period prior to menopause. It extends from the first occasion of climacteric symptoms to one year after menopause(Peacock & Ketvertis, 2022). It is caused by the gradual decrease in the levels of estrogen. However, its duration is largely variable among women with an average length of 4 years. On the other hand, surgical menopause denotes a situation where surgery rather than the natural aging process forms the foundation of a woman’s menopause (Monteleone et al., 2018). For instance, removal of the ovaries following hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Stress menopause describes a phenomenon in which chronic stress results in priming of the adrenal gland with resultant increased production of cortisol and adrenaline overproduction of estrogen and progesterone accelerating the onset of menopause. Finally, the term post menopause designates the period beginning 12 months after the last menstrual period. During this period, menopausal symptoms tend to subside or rather reduce in intensity and severity.
Features of Menopause
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Clinical features of menopause are high and include irregular menses which gradually decrease in frequency to complete amenorrhea, autonomic symptoms such as sweating, hot flashes, heat intolerance, vertigo, and headache (Monteleone et al., 2018).Besides, mental symptoms such as insomnia, mood swings, depressed mood, anxiety, irritability, and loss of libido as well as atrophic features such as osteoporosis, breast atrophy, vulvovaginal atrophy, and urinary atrophy are also common menopausal features. According to Monteleone et al. (2018), urinary atrophy results in urinary incontinence, dysuria, frequency, urgency, and increased risk of urinary tract infection. Meanwhile, vulvovaginal atrophy leads to vaginal dryness, pruritus, and dyspareunia.Finally, some menopausal women present with weight gain, hirsutism, and hypertension.
Lifestyle Changes That May Influence a Women’s Experience during Menopause
Lifestyle factors and alterations influence the age of onset and severity of symptoms of menopause. These factors include physical, psychosocial, and cognitive factors. For instance, oral contraceptive use, use of tobacco, alcohol, obesity, number of pregnancies, chronic stress, age at menarche, and number of pregnancies among other factors(Peacock & Ketvertis, 2022). According to Peacock and Ketvertis (2022), smokers and women participating in heavy physical activity along with high consumption of polyunsaturated fats have early onset of menopause. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is associated with increased severity of symptoms of menopause. Besides, caffeine, spice foods, and alcohol accentuate the severity of menopausal symptomatology while oral contraceptive use not only delays menopause but also reduces the severity of menopausal symptoms (Mazloomy Mahmoodabad et al., 2020). Consequently, these factors affect the physical, psychosocial and cognitive well-being and hence the quality of life of menopausal women.
Women at the Highest Risk of Osteoporosis
A direct correlation exists between the lack of estrogen and the development of osteoporosis after menopause. It is estimated that 4 to 6 million postmenopausal white women have osteoporosis (Monteleone et al., 2018). This is attributed to the decreased bone density caused by increased bone resorption and decreased mineralization. In addition, smoking, physical inactivity, low body weight, female sex, low serum estrogen, low serum androgen, little sunlight exposure, poor nutrition, and malabsorption increases the likelihood of osteoporosis.
Traditional and Alternative Therapies for Conditions Associated With Menopause
Treatment of osteoporosis involves a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches or rather hormonal and nonhormonal approaches. Hormonal replacement therapy is the mainstay. However, traditional and alternative therapies can also be deployed. For instance, antidepressants such as paroxetine, and gabapentin are frequently prescribed off-label for vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause(Johnson et al., 2019). Traditional therapies such as plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) including isoflavones and lignans which occur in whole grains, soybeans, lentils, and some vegetables are used to treat hot flashes associated with menopause (Johnson et al., 2019).
Nutritionally, low salt, low fat, low sugar, and high fiber diet rich in various vegetables and fruits are recommended. Light aerobic exercise 30 minutes daily has also been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Current treatment guidelines also emphasize the need to prevent fractures among postmenopausal women using a variety of measures including bisphosphonates, calcium, vitamin D, calcitonin, and monoclonal antibodies among others(Johnson et al., 2019). Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, herbal treatments (black cohosh, St john’s Wort) are further recommended for the management of mental and vasomotor symptoms respectively.
Menopause is a critical period of a woman’s normal aging process characterized by climacteric symptoms resulting from hormonal fluctuations. This period is further associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. It is imperative therefore to initiate treatment using current, traditional, and alternative therapies to reduce the severity of symptoms and associated conditions of menopause which increases the quality of life during this period.
Johnson, A., Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2019). Complementary and alternative medicine for menopause. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 24, 2515690X19829380. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515690X19829380
Mazloomy Mahmoodabad, S. S., Yoshany, N., Bahri, N., Moori, M. K., & Hanna, F. (2020). Association between lifestyle and severity of menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. Electronic Journal of General Medicine, 17(5), em222. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejgm/7885
Monteleone, P., Mascagni, G., Giannini, A., Genazzani, A. R., & Simoncini, T. (2018). Symptoms of menopause — global prevalence, physiology, and implications. Nature Reviews. Endocrinology, 14(4), 199–215. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrendo.2017.180
Peacock, K., & Ketvertis, K. M. (2022). Menopause. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/
Explain perimenopause, surgical menopause, stress menopause, and postmen pause.
Describe the signs of menopause.
Which other life changes (e.g., physical, psychosocial, and cognitive) may influence a women’s experience during menopause?
Which women are at the highest risk for osteoporosis?
Describe the traditional and alternative therapies for the conditions associated with menopause.
Suggest appropriate health, nutrition, and exercise guidelines for middle-aged and older adults.