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The end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility is known as menopause. Each woman goes through it and it usually happens in her 40s or 50s. Menopause is mostly based on genetics and may happen earlier than this, thus each woman has to know all of the stages. It affects your body and the treatment will help make the transitions smoother.

The stages of menopause

It does not happen overnight, but it rather appears in 3 stages and they are the following:

● Peri-menopause – it is defined as the period when the menstrual cycle becomes irregular. During this time a woman can get pregnant, but menstrual symptoms like hot flashes may be experienced.

● Menopause – menopause is measured as the year following your last period and for this reason you will not know that you have hit menopause for sure until it has been a year since the last period. During this time a woman may experience symptoms that include vaginal dryness and sleep issues which indicate you go through a change.

● Post-menopause – once you have no menstrual periods then you are officially postmenopausal.

What should you expect?
It is highly important to make an appointment to the doctor when you start experiencing the symptoms even if you think that you are in peri-menopausal stage. Speaking with your doctor will ensure that you get a proper early detection screenings like a colonoscopy, lipid screening, mammography, and thyroid testing if you have it in your family, and breast and pelvic exams. The symptoms are the following:

● Mood changes;

● Sleep issues;

● Night sweats;

● Hot flashes;

● No periods;

● Vaginal dryness;

● Irregular periods;

● Loss of breast fullness;

● Dry skin;

● Thinning hair;

● Slowed metabolism and weight gain.

How to treat the symptoms of menopause?

This period of life cannot be prevented as it is a natural process. There are a couple of common symptoms treatments that the doctor can prescribe in order to manage the symptoms.

● Lifestyle changes – the menopausal symptoms can be managed by eating healthier foods and exercising. You will be recommended removing bad habits such as excessive drinking and smoking. Avoiding caffeine and spicy foods will help with the hot flashes.

● Hormone therapy – this is not an option for each woman, thus it is significant to discuss the benefits and possible side effects of this therapy. if this is beneficial, then you will be prescribed progesterone, estrogen, or a combination of the two in order to fight mood swings and hot flashes.

● Meds for vaginal dryness – you might be recommended to take meds or over-the-counter drugs to fight the irritating symptoms. For dryness, there are topical estrogens, lubricants, and non-estrogen prescriptions which will help you avoid painful sex. There exist OTC drugs that can assist you get a good night’s rest.

● Low-dose antidepressants – these are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which decrease hot flashes. This is a good alternative for those women who cannot or do not want to take hormone therapy.

● Gabapentin (Neurontin) – this drug has been proved to treat seizures and reduce hot flashes, thus it is another alternative for those who cannot or will not want to go through hormone therapy.

● Natural therapies – many women seek for natural unproven methods to treat menopause symptoms, but it is significant to speak with your doctor regarding any therapies or medications as they may interfere with your health. Acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation techniques are harmless, thus a lot of women found them to be very beneficial for easing the symptoms.