Menopause is a physiological change in the body that all women experience with age. Menopause describes the changes in a woman or the symptoms experienced by her just before or after she stops having her periods, labeling the end of her reproductive period.
[Read: Early Menopause Symptoms]
What causes menopause: Menopause occurs as there are a limited number of eggs in your ovaries and, in due course, no more eggs are left to be released from the ovaries for fertilisation. The ovum undergoes changes during its development in each menstrual cycle to form a mature egg. During this development it produces the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. The female hormones estrogen and progesterone are synthesised and released under the influence of FSH and LH secreted from the pituitary gland. As you age, when there are no more eggs left for development the female hormones estrogen and progesterone that control your ovulation and menstruation also decrease. The decrease of these hormones makes your ovulation and menstruation irregular and eventually after a few years you stop having periods. When a woman no longer has menstruation or her periods she enters the menopausal phase of her life.
Age of menopause: Menopause does not occur at a fixed age. Your family history affects your menopause, which means you will probably go through menopause around the same time as your other close female relatives (grandmother, mother, or sister) did. However, in most women menstruation stops completely by about 50 years of age but the whole menopausal process occurs over a few years. Menopause usually begins sometime between the ages of 45 and 55 but it can occur at a younger age (as early as 35) or later (as late as 60).
[Read: Side-effects of Menopause]
Premature menopause: Menopause can occur naturally when your ovaries no longer produce mature eggs and the female hormones. However, in some women it can occur prematurely due to surgery (hysterectomy) and certain medications or treatments (radiation treatment and chemotherapy). Menopause is considered premature when it occurs before the age of forty years (regardless of the cause). Other causes of premature menopause include damage to the ovaries or low levels of estrogen secretion due to any problem.
Treatment for menopause: Experience of every woman during menopause is different. Some may hardly notice 'the change', except the fact that their periods become irregular and eventually stop where as others may have a range of symptoms (often quite bothersome).Medical treatment can ease transition into the menopause for women who have symptoms which are significant. Hormonal therapy and a range of ‘complementary’ medical treatments are available to relieve menopausal symptom.
Remember that menopause is not an illness or a health hazard. It is a physiological process which all women go through (some earlier others a few years later);it is just a phase of life to which you have to adapt and live with.
Read more articles on Menopause.