Menopause: Stages, Symptoms, and Related Health Issues

Many ailments afflict humans as they age, but one is specific to women. It is called menopause. Although menopause is barely a disease, it is massive transformation women undergo, getting used to living with their period for a good portion of their lives. For those curious about menopause, here are a few issues related to the phase so that you can be ready to handle anything during this time. 

What Causes Menopause?

Menopause is essentially caused by naturally declining female hormones of estrogen and progesterone. Hormones start dipping as you reach your late 30s, and so does your fertility. On average, menopause comes around the age of 51.

Other less common situations that can cause menopause include ovarian surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation on the ovaries. Primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition wherein 1% of women experience menopausal symptoms before age 40, can also lead to menopause. It can also happen if your body experiences an early dip in hormone production due to genetic factors or an autoimmune disease.

Stages of Menopause

Perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause are the three stages of the condition, each with its symptoms. Most symptoms surface at the perimenopausal stage, reach a crescendo at menopause, then wind down. In most cases, they disappear at the postmenopausal stage.

Symptoms of Menopause

Perimenopause: At this stage, estrogen levels in the female body rise and fall unevenly. These cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you may start having menstrual cycles wherein the ovaries don’t release eggs.

Menopause: At this stage, you start experiencing hot flashes that could disturb your sleep, vaginal dryness, and other menopausal symptoms such as:

  • Changes in mood
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular periods
  • Night sweats
  • Sleeping problems
  • Slow metabolism
  • Thinning hair and dried skin
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness

Post-menopause: Women at this stage have missed periods for 12 months at a stretch. Many women also experience hot flashes, sexual discomfort, depression, insomnia, hair loss, and urinary incontinence. These issues can be physically, psychologically, and emotionally daunting.

Let us explore some of the most common issues related to menopause. 

Physical Changes

Hot Flashes

A hot flash is a sudden heat filling the upper body in areas such as the face, neck, and chest. That feeling can progress upwards or downwards and cause sweating and red patches to form on the skin. Many people experience night sweats and cold flashes along with hot flashes. These occur in the first year after your period ends, but they can go on for 14 more years after menopause. 

Sleep Disturbances

Due to anxiety, night sweats, and an increased urge to urinate, you may experience disturbances in your sleep cycle. Get tons of exercise, avoid heavy meals before sleep, and try to read how you can improve the quality of your sleep in general.

Irregular Menstruation and Lower Fertility

As women approach menopause, their fertility rates drop due to the lowering of estrogen in their bodies. That lowers the chances of pregnancy and creates irregular menstruation.

Periods can become less or more frequent than before and can be heavy or light. If you are concerned about these changes, you should visit a doctor. These changes can be indicative of a condition other than menopause.

Dryness and Discomfort

Vaginal dryness, discomfort, itching, and other similar symptoms start before menopause. These can continue for years and make sexual activities uncomfortable if left unmanaged. Sometimes, bleeding can occur if the skin becomes fragile. 

In severe cases, women contract atrophic vaginitis when the vaginal wall becomes thinner, dryer, and inflamed. But there are many ways to get around this, such as using moisturizers and lubricants.

Changes in Appearances

Some women experience changes in their physical appearance during this time. That includes weight gain around specific areas such as the tummy, changes in hair colour, volume, and texture, and urinary incontinence. 

Emotional Changes

Many women experience mood swings and depression due to hormonal changes. Irritability, anxiety, and tiredness can be debilitating as they make it through the day. 

Following a healthy diet and exercising can help regulate your hormones to some extent. Some feel stressed due to the changes in the body that lead to low libido and physical transformation. These feelings are common and do not indicate clinical depression. But if you are feeling low for longer than 2 weeks, please see a doctor.

Increased Risk of Other Health Conditions

Hormonal changes can lead to higher risks of developing other diseases such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin supplements, a healthy diet, and regular checkups will help.

Are There Remedies or Treatments for Menopause? 

There are no treatments or remedies for menopause as it is a natural part of being a woman. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay active to regulate your hormones, and be in touch with your emotional needs to tackle any new changes.


Menopause is a natural condition that must be dealt with with love and care.

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