stated, Menopause is a natural, predictable, physical transition that
a woman's body goes through which will result with the end of menstruation
and the end of childbearing years.
To elaborate on this statement; you are not considered to have reached
menopause until you have gone one full year without any bleeding or
spotting. The average age for this natural physical transition to
occur is approximately 52 years of age.
Although this is considered an expected, natural physical transition
by medical science there are many physical symptoms that may accompany
this transition. For example; many women complain of the following:
hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbances, fuzzy
thinking and a lagging libido, just to name a few.
What causes this long list of symptoms?
The biggest culprit is the decrease in production of three very important
sex hormones that used to be produced by the ovary. These three hormones
are: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
There are three phases involved with menopause. The first phase is
called perimenopause, the second phase is menopause and the third
and last phase is post menopause. Each phase has its own unique list
of physical and emotional symptoms. All of which can in some way be
blamed by the lagging production of the three hormones that were listed
Not every woman will experience menopause in a natural way. Some women
for example may experience menopause through a surgical procedure
which involves removing both her uterus and ovaries. And some women
may experience a chemical menopause. This means that chemicals such
as radiation or chemotherapy used to treat any form of cancer in the
body destroyed the production of hormones produced by the woman‚s
ovaries. When a woman's ovaries are not longer able to produce the
right amount of estrogen, progesterone or testosterone caused by chemicals
put into her body, no matter what age, she will experience the same
symptoms as a woman who goes through a natural menopause.
How to find a menopause specialist:
Not every OB-GYN, and certianly not every doctor is versed in the
treatment and care of menopause patients. The clinics and doctors
listed here have indicated that they have a specialized interest in
the area of menopause care. You should ask questions, and be sure
that you're going to a doctor who understands this unique time in
a woman's life.
With thanks to: Rebecca Hulem RN, RNP, CNM
The Menopause Expert