Menopause occurs when woman completes a year without experiencing a menstrual cycle. According to Wu et al. (2019) the “average age for menopause in the United States is 51” (p. 70). Therefore, this discussion aims to research the topic of menopause by addressing issues related to perimenopause, surgical menopause, stress menopause, and postmenopause. Similarly, the paper will highlight the changes women experience during this period and the traditional and alternatives therapies associated with it. Overall, menopause is a natural part of aging in women between 45 and 55 years, triggered by a decline in estrogen levels.
Perimenopause, Surgical Menopause, Stress Menopause, and Postmenopause
Fertility in women declines gradually with age, especially in their 30s, and drops rapidly during perimenopause (the first stage which takes place eight to ten years before infertility). This is followed by postmenopause which occurs when a woman has not experienced her periods for the whole year. Surgical menopause is where surgery, instead of natural aging process, is used to ensure a woman does not experience menstruation (Huang et al., 2018). Lastly, stress menopause occurs when the body fails to regulate cortisol levels. The body experiences a reduction in estrogen, which causes low cortisol levels and makes women more susceptible to stress. Overall, many women experience the signs of menopause during the first stage after they stop having their periods.
The Signs of Menopause
The signs of menopause vary among women because estrogen is used in different parts of the body. Most women experience mild symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal health issues that are easily treated by lifestyle changes (Palacios et al., 2019). Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of heat in the upper abdomen caused by changes in estrogen levels. Mood changes are where women experience many different kinds of feelings during menopause. They occur mainly in women with a history of depression, mental health issues, and obesity (Palacios et al., 2019). Vaginal health problems are mainly associated with the vagina getting drier, which makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Some women may experience a sudden urge to urinate, while in others, urine may leak during physical exercise. Other signs of menopause include sleep problems and minor memory lapses.
Additionally, constant variations of hormone levels during this period can have an effect on emotions. As they transition to menopause, many of them experience multiple emotions such as irritability, sensitivity, fatigue, and anxiety. Similarly, some women experience problems with memory (cognitive changes) during menopausal transition (Palacios et al., 2019). This shows clearly that the hormonal changes during menopause may affect women’s ability to learn and recall information. For example, estrogen affects memory when ovaries are curtailed abruptly (Palacios et al., 2019). In overall, most women experience hot flashes and vaginal health issues during menopause.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease associated with loss of bone density and affects mainly the elderly people. According to Adami and Saag (2019) age is one of the main risk factors of getting osteoporosis, “bones become thinner as one ages” (p. 23). The authors further noted that the rate of bone formation decreases after 30 years, but osteoporosis only starts to affect people at the age of 60 or older. Women who have completed menopause are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis because of low estrogen levels, which helps protect them from loss of bone density. Similarly, women who no longer experience menstrual periods after their ovaries are surgically removed or are not working properly are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
Traditional and Alternative Therapies
Alternative therapies are often described as nontraditional treatments such as dietary supplements, acupuncture, Black cohosh, Ginseng, Red clover, and homeopathy. Homeopathy, according to Johnson et al. (2019) is effective for treating hot flushes. It is clear from the research that many women try to get relief from alternative therapies for conditions associated with infertility (Johnson et al., 2019). Some even opt to include either phytoestrogens or natural estrogens in their diet. Nutritional supplements, such as flaxseed, are often used to address vaginal health issues. Traditional therapies are also being utilized in many parts of the world to treat hot flashes. Some common examples include Dong Quai, Kava, and Evening Primrose Oil. However, these therapies should be used with caution because they are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs. Therefore, traditional and alternative therapies, if used appropriately, can help address the problems associated with menopause.
Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Guidelines
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help manage health issues that affect middle-aged and older adults. As for health and nutrition, it is advisable to eat high-fiber foods such as beans, fruit, whole-grain bread, and cereals (Karvinen et al., 2019). For strong bones, it is recommended that one select drinks with added vitamin D and calcium. On exercises, it is imperative to choose activities that are beneficial to the body. The following activities should be performed at least twice a week: aerobic training (swimming, cycling, and walking), strength exercise (climbing stairs, yoga, and push-ups), and balance exercises. By keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly, one will be able to manage their health issues that come with aging.
Menopause is the time that marks the end of the menstrual cycle. It is diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without experiencing her periods. As evidenced above, menopause is a gradual process; it occurs in stages starting with perimenopause to postmenopause. While the signs of menopause vary among women, most of them experience hot flashes and vaginal health issues. Most of these symptoms can be treated using both traditional and alternative therapies such as black cohosh, acupuncture, kava, and evening primrose oil.
Adami, G., & Saag, K. G. (2019). Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: 2019 concise clinical review. Osteoporosis International, 30(6), 1145-1156. Web.
Huang, T., Lin, B. M., Redline, S., Curhan, G. C., Hu, F. B., & Tworoger, S. S. (2018). Type of menopause, age at menopause, and risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea in postmenopausal women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(7), 1370-1379. Web.
Johnson, A., Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2019). Complementary and alternative medicine for menopause. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 24 (5), 123-444. Web.
Karvinen, S., Jergenson, M. J., Hyvärinen, M., Aukee, P., Tammelin, T., Sipilä, S., & Laakkonen, E. K. (2019). Menopausal status and physical activity are independently associated with cardiovascular risk factors of healthy middle-aged women: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence. Frontiers in endocrinology, 10, 589. Web.
Palacios, S., Stevenson, J. C., Schaudig, K., Lukasiewicz, M., & Graziottin, A. (2019). Hormone therapy for first-line management of menopausal symptoms: Practical recommendations. Women’s Health, 15 (4), 23-100. Web.
Wu, Y., Sun, W., Liu, H., & Zhang, D. (2019). Age at menopause and risk of developing endometrial cancer: a meta-analysis. BioMed Research International, 150(6), 70-137. Web.