Literally, menopause means ‘last menstruation’. In the time before this climacteric (the pre- or perimenopause) the ovaries produce less female hormones. The hormonal changes caused by this lower amount of oestrogen can lead to a number of complaints. A small collection: heavy and/or irregular menstruation, hot flushes, night sweats, hairs on your chin, hair loss on your head, insomnia, fatigue, loss of libido, mood changes, anxiety, memory lapses, dry skin, vaginal dryness, joint pain. And that’s just a start.
The premenopause can last for up to ten years. Usually the stereotypical symptoms disappear in the time after the menopause – the postmenopause. Still, the International Menopause Society (IMS) advises all women aged 50 to visit their GP and talk about eventual health risks. Because after the menopause all sorts of other problems can arise, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, depression and certain types of cancer. It can be wise to make some lifestyle changes to improve your chances of preventing these diseases.
To bring this to the attention, the 18th of October has been chosen as World Menopause Day. The theme for 2015 is ‘What comes to mind: menopause and the ageing brain’. Emphasis will be placed on simple measures which women can take to minimize the chance of cognitive decline with age. For more information, have a look at the International Menopause Society
In need of something funny after reading this? Carol E Wyer has written a book called Grumpy Old Menopause.
Or have a look at Madame Menopause’s blog where the author looks the big M squarely in the eye: Madame Menopause