What is Menopause?
Menopause refers to the last menstrual period in a woman’s life, and it occurs due to loss of ovarian follicular activity. This can be defined once a woman has gone for 12 months without a period.
What causes menopause?
Menopause occurs when the supply of responsive oocytes (early eggs) is exhausted. Therefore the ovaries no longer release a monthly egg, and oestrogen levels (released by the ovaries) fall.
What age does menopause start?
The average age of menopause in the UK is 51. However, the period before menopause (called perimenopause), when women may experience menopausal symptoms, can begin some years before this.
What are the early signs of menopause?
Women will often note a change in their menstrual cycle to be the first sign of menopause/perimenopause.
What happens during menopause?
After the last menstrual period, oestrogen production from the ovaries falls, which causes changes in levels of other hormones released from the brain. The change in hormone levels can cause a wide variety of symptoms and affect a woman’s bone and cardiovascular health.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause (including Worst Symptoms)?
Symptoms can be...
- low mood
- mood swings
- low lidido
- urinary frequency
- recurrent cystitis
- vagina dryness
It can also cause poor sleep, headaches, achy joints and dry or itchy skin. The severity of symptoms will vary between women, but many report severe sleep disruption as one of the most challenging symptoms experienced.
How does menopause change the brain?
Research is still ongoing into the effects of oestrogen deficiency and replacement on cognition. Many women do complain of poor memory or ‘brain fog’. It is uncertain if this is a direct effect or a knock on effect from other symptoms (such as poor sleep). There is ongoing research into menopause, hormone therapy, and later dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
How long does menopause last?
On average, menopausal symptoms last for 4 years after your last period. Some studies suggest symptoms can start three years before this point, giving an average duration of symptoms of seven years.
What are the signs of menopause coming to an end?
Menopause itself is a point in time that refers to your last menstrual period. If we look at menopause as a symptomatic phase that passes with time, the reduction in severity and frequency of symptoms indicates the symptomatic phase is coming to an end.
How to delay menopause?
There is evidence to show that smoking reduces the age of menopause, so stopping/avoiding smoking may help prevent earlier menopause. Having children and using contraception that suppresses ovulation is associated with later menopause.
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