Menopause is a biological and natural process that marks the end of women's menstrual cycles. During menopause, the amount of follicles in the ovaries decreases and accordingly, estrogen production decreases. Over time, estrogen production ceases and the ovaries shrink. Accordingly, the menstrual cycle is interrupted and reproductive ability is lost.
In most women, menopause occurs at a suitable age when the ovaries naturally deplete the egg reserve, estrogen and progesterone production; In some, the ovaries may occur as a result of specific treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and in others, surgical removal of both ovaries.
The menopause process is examined in three different periods.
Perimenopause: The period in which the signs that the person is approaching menopause are seen is called perimenopause. This process, which can also be defined as the pre-menopausal period, begins in the years before the person's last menstrual period. During this period when ovulation continues, the function of the eggs decreases. In this process, the person may become pregnant, albeit with a low probability. The perimenopause period, which usually lasts for 4 years, ends after the person does not have a menstrual period for 12 months, and then the menopause period begins.
Menopause: A woman's ovaries lose their function in the period of menopause, which begins 12 months after the last menstrual bleeding. As a result, fertility also comes to an end.
Postmenopause: In the postmenopausal period, which is used to define the years after menopause, the symptoms of menopause decrease. However, during this period, the person is at high risk for many different health problems such as osteoporosis (bone loss) and heart diseases. During this period, it is recommended to use medication and make lifestyle changes under the supervision of a physician.
Surgical Menopause: Some surgical interventions may cause premature menopause. If the ovaries of a menstruating woman are removed as a result of surgery or a surgical procedure, menstruation ceases and menopause occurs. Cancer treatments such as radiation treatments and chemotherapy can also cause menopause. However, the loss of ovarian function seen during cancer chemotherapy is reversible.
A person can understand that he will enter menopause, based on the symptoms that occur in his body. The heaviness or prolongation of menstrual periods and the irregularity of these periods are the harbingers of menopause. During menopause, many physical and psychological changes occur in the person.
Other symptoms are physical, psychological and sexual problems and can be listed as follows:
If a person has symptoms of menopause, he should go to the doctor and be examined. The physician first listens to the patient's complaint and requests a laboratory test to measure LH and FSH hormones in the blood on the third day of menstruation.
In women with menstrual irregularity, if the FSH level is 40 pg/ml and above, the person is diagnosed with menopause. A FSH level of 25 to 39 pg/ml indicates that the person is in the premenopausal period. The physician may request additional tests to investigate a different disease that causes menstrual irregularity.
Menopause is not treated as it is a natural process. Rather than medical treatment, menopause treatment focuses on relieving signs and symptoms that may be bothersome to the person and preventing or managing chronic conditions that can occur with aging.
Treatments to be used to manage menopausal symptoms primarily include hormone therapy. Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment method to relieve hot flashes that occur in the person with menopause. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss.
It is possible to use vaginal estrogen to relieve vaginal dryness. In this treatment technique, estrogen can be delivered directly into the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. This treatment provides the body with a small amount of estrogen that is absorbed by the vaginal tissues and helps to relieve some urinary problems or problems that can negatively affect sexual intercourse, such as vaginal dryness.
Some antidepressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug class called SSRIs can help reduce hot flashes caused by menopause, if used in small amounts.
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