Menopause: Bodily Changes, Risks, Diagnosis And How To Deal With It

Menopause is the time when your menstrual cycles come to an end. It is identified after 12 months of not having a menstrual cycle.

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: May 15, 2023 14:42 IST
Menopause: Bodily Changes, Risks, Diagnosis And How To Deal With It

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Menopause is an unavoidable stage in a woman's life. It signals the end of the reproductive years and the start of a new stage. It is referred to as a transition period, or a period in which women may endure physical and emotional changes that can be perplexing and overwhelming.

Menopause is defined as the permanent termination of the menstrual cycle in a woman. This is a normal phase that occurs between the age of 40 to 50 years. 

To know more about menopause, Only My Health reached Dr Sushma Tomar, Consultant-Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital Kalyan. 

Bodily Changes Associated With Menopause 

During menopause, the ovarian function stops and there is deficiency of oestrogen hormone, gradually the symptoms start showing. Underlying changes are unique and differ from person to person, and it can present with:

  • Hot flash 
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in weight
  • Dryness in the vagina - causing pain during contact
  • Dry skin
  • Sleepless nights
  • Joints pain due to Osteoarthritis
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal and vulval itching

Risk Associated With Menopause

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is high in postmenopausal women due to oestrogen deficiency. Symptoms which can occur anytime include:

  • Osteoporosis and fracture
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Psychological changes
  • Skin and hair changes
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dementia

Diagnosis Of Menopause

The age at which menopause occurs is genetically predetermined, and it is not related to age of menarche, marriage, number of pregnancies, lactation, height, or weight etc. This is basically an oestrogen deficiency stage. Before menopause begins, there is a pre-menopause stage where ovulation occurs and slowly hormones start decreasing.

Following menopause there is loss of bone mass by three to five percent every year, this is due to oestrogen deficiency. “Regular BMD (Bone Mineral Density) checks can detect the onset of osteoporosis. As a result, a yearly health check-up is critical in this age group for early diagnosis”, said Dr Tomar. 

If a woman experiences menopause before 40 years of age, then it is ‘premature menopause’. “If menses do not stop after 50 years of age, then doctors perform pelvic sonography of the patient to rule out complications. When there are no menses for 12 months, it means you’ve entered menopause; and the family members can be informed regarding the same”, Dr Tomar added. 

Also read: Study Reveals Premature Menopause Linked To Higher Risk Of Heart Diseases

How To Deal With Menopause

Menopause should be taken gracefully as there are changes in the body, physiology and even behaviour of a woman. It is not a disease but there are notable changes in the body. Hence, one needs to make changes in their lifestyle, to adapt to these changes, this includes:

  • Exercise every day
  • Follow a healthy diet to avoid Osteoarthritis
  • Include more calcium in the diet; reduce the consumption of sweet items and oil
  • Meditate to stay away with irritation & depression

Key takeaway is that it is essential that women take care of their health and exercise regularly, have a positive outlook, and make efforts to lead a healthy life.