Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating and experiences hormonal changes in her body. It is not a disease or a disorder but a normal biological change experienced by all women. Not all women respond to menopause in the same way; some may be glad that their menstrual periods are soon coming to an end while others may feel disappointed that they are not able to have children anymore. You can treat menopause as a new phase in life and make your menopause experience a positive one.
What causes menopause?
Menopause is the direct result of the woman’s ovaries ‘shutting down’ and this in turn leads to a drastic drop in the levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This causes irregular menstruation and eventually when the hormones produced are too little, menstruation will cease. The loss of estrogen is also believed to contribute to many symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes and night sweats.
Menopause normally occurs around the age of 50. A woman can also encounter menopause prematurely before the age of 40. This could be due to various factors such as:
Most women are likely to start experiencing menopause at a similar age as their mothers or other women in their family.
Women who smoke tend to reach menopause earlier as compared to those who don’t. The degree of shift in the time of onset of perimenopause is determined by smoking habits such as the number of cigarettes smoked regularly and the duration the woman has been smoking. The more regular and heavily the woman smokes, the earlier she will experience menopause.
Pregnancy history also affects the onset age of menopause. Multiparity (i.e. more than one pregnancy experienced) is associated with a later menopause. Nullparity (i.e. no history of pregnancy) is one of the factors that contribute to earlier menopause.
Premature menopause can also be caused by permanent ovarian failure or removal/damage of ovaries. For instance:
DID YOU KNOW
Estrogen is an important female sex hormone that is responsible for the development of the breasts, vagina, and uterus during puberty. In addition, estrogen has effects on the blood vessels, heart, bone, brain, skin and urinary systems.
Progesterone is the hormone produced by the ovaries and is responsible for the monthly shedding of the uterine lining, which a woman experiences as a menstrual period. It also allows the womb to prepare and maintain pregnancy.
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