Menopause occurs due to drastic fall in the levels of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone and loss of egg (ovum) production by the ovaries. Menopause causes permanent end of menstruation and fertility (you cannot conceive). During this period, you can experience great physical and emotional change that can be overwhelming if you are not aware of what to expect. Read on to know when to seek medical help for menopause.
- Menopause is a not a disease but a natural biological process. However, the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, urinary problem, and mood swings can disrupt your sleep, and sap your energy. If your symptoms are severe and are disrupting your daily life don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are many effective treatments for the symptoms of menopause.
- In the years before menopause (perimenopause) and after menopause (postmenopause) it is recommended that you should visit your doctor annually for a full physical exam. During this exam, a breast exam, pelvic exam, mammogram and tests for other medical conditions that may occur with aging such as osteoporosis, heart disease may be done.
- If your periods have become irregular, scant or heavy (these are some signs of the approaching menopause), but you are not sure if you've started the menopausal transition, consult your doctor to rule out pregnancy or some other medical problem (for example, polyps or fibroids). Women with hypothyroidism (low thyroid) can also have irregular periods or other symptoms similar to menopause.
- Definitely consult a doctor if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause (that is after 12 months after your last menstrual period). It can be a symptom of uterine cancer or some other medical problem.
- Urinary problems are an important reason for which you should consult your doctor. During the menopausal years or in the postmenopause phase many women develop bladder problems such as an increased susceptibility to cystitis or other bladder infections, stress incontinence (tendency to leak urine while coughing or laughing), and frequent urination. Most of these problems can be dealt with and often eliminated with treatment such as practicing the Kegel exercises (commonly taught while you are preparing for childbirth), reducing intake of caffeinated beverages (as these irritate the bladder) and certain types of surgeries. The important thing is that if you have bladder problems consult your doctor as early as possible; it will not only treat the problems but also greatly improve your quality of life.
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