what is menopause?
Many women refer to menopause as simply the "change of life." It's actually three stages, or phases
First, there is Perimenopause, the stage where a woman's body begins preparing for menopause. Common symptoms are night sweats, hot flashes, bladder problems, sleeping issues, and irregular periods, all of which women are taught and talk about.
There are other signs too, that might not be directly impacting your period and your sexual health but instead affect your general health. Low estrogen leads to increased production of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. This high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease.
Bone density begins to deteriorate with decreasing estrogen levels. This can cause osteoporosis, in which more calcium leaves bones than the amount of calcium that replaces it. Weight gain is another symptom that is often attributed to something other than perimenopause. Yet decreasing estrogen levels can cause fluid retention and increased appetite. It isn't uncommon for women in the perimenopause stage to experience weight gain, especially showing up in the belly.
Menopause often begins when a woman enters her late 40s or early 50s. Menopause occurs when the body stops producing eggs and the hormones that guide the menstrual cycles. A woman is considered menopausal when she stops menstruating for 12 consecutive months.
Many women struggle with symptoms of menopause. It can be difficult to act normal when you're anxious and tired, with hot flashes and weight gain. Some women suffer more severe conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and even cancer as a result of menopause.
As hormone levels change drastically during menopause, they create a wide variety of symptoms. Hormones control nearly every bodily function, so an imbalance can be disruptive to nearly everything we do.
The final stage of menopause — postmenopause — is often one of relief for women. Their bodies have adjusted to the lower hormone levels, and the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause fade away. Some women experience a complete loss of symptoms, but many continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or more after completing menopause.
Healthy lifestyle changes are recommended, along with hormone replacement therapy, for postmenopausal women. In addition to offering relief from menopausal symptoms, they offer significant health advantages to help minimize other health risks. One unfortunate aspect of the postmenopausal stage is that it leaves women more susceptible to diseases such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis and leaves them with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
At the biostation, our doctors and medical team will give you a comprehensive screening and evaluation of your specific hormone levels. A plan will be developed and treatments implemented to address your own health concerns and risks. This is important because every woman's risk is different, and your treatment plan should reflect that.