Updated: November 8, 2017
Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility. When two essential hormones(estrogen and progesterone) needed for a woman's fertility is not produced by the ovaries the periods will be stopped resulting in menopause. This is known as the end of female reproduction. There are actually different stages within menopause that are important to recognize and understand.
Menopause itself officially occurs when you stop menstruating for one year. Where as perimenopause the menopause transitional phase, which means that it happens before menopause. Both of these have differences in terms of symptoms and treatment options.
Premenopause is the stage of your life when you have no symptoms of going through perimenopause or menopause. You will still have your periods, whether they are regular or irregular. You are considered to be in your reproductive years. Some hormonal changes may occur but there will be no noticeable changes in your body.
On the other hand, during perimenopause you will start to show symptoms of menopause such as change in period cycle, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, or mood swings. This is the menopause transitional phase and is defined as around menopause.
Before you officially hit menopause, may be 8 to 10 years ahead of menopause, perimenopause occurs. The level of estrogen, which is the main female hormone produced by the ovaries will tend to decrease during this stage. The estrogen levels can also go up and down more sporadically than a normal 28-day cycle, which can cause irregular periods and other symptoms.
Despite the sharp drop in estrogen during the final stages of perimenopause, it is still possible to get pregnant. This phase of menopause can last from few months to four years.
When the ovaries produce no estrogen or so little estrogen that eggs are no longer released, Menopause occurs. This also causes your period to stop.
You may enter menopause earlier than normal if you:
Hot flashes are the most common symptoms in menopause. There are many other changes you might experience during this transition because of decreasing level of estrogen which includes:
Some of these can occur while you are still at the perimenopause stage.
Symptoms of perimenopause may include:
Consult a doctor if you have noticed:
All of these could be due to hormonal imbalances or fibroids, both of which are treatable. The possibility of cancer should also be ruled out.
Hormone therapy can help treat both perimenopause and menopause. These medications work by normalizing estrogen levels so that sudden hormonal spikes and drops donÃ¢â¬â¢t cause uncomfortable symptoms. Some of them may even help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
HT are available in many forms, including pills, creams, gels and skin patches.
Other menopause medications can be used to treat the root cause of the symptoms. These include:
prescription vaginal creams can alleviate dryness as well as pain from intercourse.
Antidepressants can help with mood swings.
Neurontin, a seizure medication can help treat migraines.
Other methods of symptom relief include: