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Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, Mental Effects and Ways of Treatment

Introduction

Menopause is a term used for a condition when the female reproductive system ceases to function appropriately, causing menstrual cycles to stop. This condition is regarded as natural, given that menopause occurs with all women as they reach a certain age. Nevertheless, menopause is broadly linked with a plethora of unpleasant outcomes that a patient might experience afterward (Harris, 2020). This paper attempts to give a broader view of the symptoms and mental effects menopause has on women and present a review of the latest innovations and traditional ways of menopause management.

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Different Stages and Types of Menopause

Even though scientists seem to agree that there is a certain age when menopause occurs in most cases (Panay et al., 2020), the transition from reproductive to the non-reproductive state does not happen instantaneously. Preceding menopause, specialists mark a condition called “perimenopause” – a change in the hormonal level of an organism, which leads to the manifestation of menopause itself. Panay et al. (2020) claim that it generally takes “several years” (p. 1) from the beginning of the perimenopause stage to the complete stop of menstrual bleeding. Harris (2020) gives more precise numbers stating that “perimenopause… can begin up to ten years before the cessation of menstruation” (p. 14). Even though the fertility rate is declining, female with perimenopause is still able to conceive a child.

Conventionally, menopause is detected retrospectively, after 12 months since the last menstruation has taken place. Once menopause was determined, the period that followed after it receives the name of “postmenopause.” The commencement of postmenopause marks an important but grim stage in a woman’s life when the ovary stops the production of estrogen causing life-long hormone deficiency (Panay et al., 2020). Sometimes women can also suffer from menopausal conditions that are not directly to natural causes such as aging. Surgeries and exposure to severe stress are common factors that result in women losing their fertility prematurely. As an example of such surgeries, Panay et al. (2020) are listing “hysterectomy and/or bilateral oophorectomy” (p. 65). Even though menopause occurs to some women early of an age, their experience is similar to the experience of those who had natural menopause related to aging.

Signs of Menopause

Even though the severity of menopausal signs differs greatly depending on the individual characteristics, some common trends can be noticed. Females who entered the period of menopause usually complain about hot flushes, insomnia, heavy sweating, a decrease in the level of libido, anxiety, pain, and mood swings (Harris, 2020). These changes are largely attributed to the loss of hormones (particularly estrogen), but recent studies have shown that this is not the only problem. According to Harris, many menopause-related symptoms derive from neuroinflammation – a process, which hurts neurotransmitters, limbic areas of the brain, and the gut-brain axis (2020). Neuroinflammation appears to be especially intense when the level of sex hormones in the organism plummets. Consequently, in the case of menopause, it creates numerous unwanted mental symptoms ranging from insomnia to poor moods.

Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is an alteration in a bone structure of a man, which makes the skeleton more fragile and susceptible to the formation of fractures. It presents a real threat to many women who are no longer capable of having a child as osteoporosis often develops as a result of hypoestrogenic (lack of estrogen). Panay et al. (2020) claim that women with “low bone mineral density” (p.136) face much greater risks of osteoporosis than others. However, the condition of patients with fragile skeletons might be alleviated by various therapeutic measures, including the introduction of a healthier nutrition plan and lifestyle.

Traditional and Alternative Methods of Treatment of Menopausal Conditions

Menopausal transition makes women vulnerable to many adverse conditions that sometimes demand medical intervention. In the article by Farrell (2017), the author sheds light on how to treat the genitourinary syndrome of menopause – yet another syndrome that occurs in the female body due to hypoestrogenic. The author stresses the importance of choosing the treatment which corresponds to the kind of symptoms the patient has (Farrell, 2017). For instance, Farrell (2017) describes hormonal therapies as effective to “reverse atrophic changes in pelvic tissue and improve blood flow” (p. 483). On the other hand, simple vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are suitable for the treatment of pains and discomfort during sexual intercourse (Farrell, 2017). However, less conventional, innovative methods have also been introduced recently. Amongst them, Farrell (2017) mentions vaginal laser therapy, “an oral selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), and a vaginal gel of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)” (p. 484). With the rising demand for vaginal procedures, new techniques are sure to be tried in the foreseeable future.

Health, Nutrition and Exercise Guidelines

Since the organism of a middle-aged woman faces many changes that are only amplified by menopause, the former lifestyle might need a revision. To accept their new bodies, people will have to embrace their “new normal” by switching some of the old habits. Women in their post-menopausal period are expected to eat wholesome food and move actively. Exercising, though, should be done with greater precaution than before (Harris, 2020). In terms of nutrition, it would be wise to reduce the consumption of sugary products, caffeine, and alcohol.

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Conclusion

Menopause is a perfectly natural process that can hurt the quality of women’s lives. To alleviate its highly unpleasant consequences, doctors have invented various methods of treatment that range from rather simple like vaginal moisturizers to more complicated and advanced like hormonal therapy. Further research on the subject will bring more opportunities for those who suffer from different conditions associated with menopause.

References

Farrell, E. (2017). Genitourinary syndrome of menopause. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 46(7), 481-484.

Harris, G. (2020). Before, during, and after menopause: Your resource guide to cruising through menopause with grace, gratitude, confidence, and ease. AMJ Productions & Publications.

Panay, N., Briggs, P., & Kovacs, G. T. (2020). Managing the menopause. Cambridge University Press.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, April 4). Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, Mental Effects and Ways of Treatment. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/menopause-stages-symptoms-mental-effects-and-ways-of-treatment/

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StudyCorgi. "Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, Mental Effects and Ways of Treatment." April 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/menopause-stages-symptoms-mental-effects-and-ways-of-treatment/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, Mental Effects and Ways of Treatment." April 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/menopause-stages-symptoms-mental-effects-and-ways-of-treatment/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, Mental Effects and Ways of Treatment'. 4 April.

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