No woman wants to deal with dreaded menopause. The symptoms are tough enough but then consider that some woman actually experience early signs of menopause, being thrust into the change of life earlier than expected. Whether experiencing signs early in life or when normally expected between the ages of 47 and 52, menopause is a tough time of life. Most often, the symptoms would include an irregular monthly menstrual cycle, heart palpitations, and loss of sexual desire, thinning hair, dry skin, and incontinence. For some women, they will also begin to notice more severe symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes, night sweating, insomnia, and mood swings.
The early signs of menopause are caused by the change in production of two hormones – estrogen and progesterone. As the body’s ovaries become less and less functional, they stop producing the normal level of these hormones. The result is that the body responds with hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, insomnia, and so on. Usually the first early sign of menopause is the change in menstrual cycle. For some women, the blood flow will stop immediately but more common is the gradual reduction in flow and length. Typically, the irregularity lasts anywhere from one to three years before the cycle stops altogether.
If you believe you are noticing some early signs of menopause, some things can be done to confirm your suspicions. For starters, a pap smear performed by your gynecologist might indicate any change in the vaginal lining that would be caused by a reduction of estrogen levels. In addition, a bone density test could be done whereby the density of your bones is determined, possibly identifying risk of osteoporosis, often associated with menopause. You will even find menopause tests on the market today that resemble a home pregnancy test. With these, you simply place a prepared stick under urine flow and if the stick changes color, it means there is a change in hormone levels, meaning early sign of menopause.
Remember that menopause is a natural process that every woman experiences. If the signs of menopause are not severe, no treatment may be required. For some women, they will breeze right through the change of life and do very well. However, the majority of women need some level of intervention to help with all the symptoms, especially if they are overly bothersome. Probably the biggest decision would be whether to take hormone replacement therapy or not. While many women find great relief with this form of treatment, new controversial information has surfaced that needs to be considered.
For example, it is known that hormone replacement therapy provides relief for just about every symptom of menopause. In addition, hormone replacement therapy has been proven to help fight cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and it even helps slow down the natural aging process, firms up the breasts, and can improve sex drive. However, the other side to hormone replacement therapy is that it has been shown to cause certain types of cancer and diseases and in some cases, heart attack and stroke. Therefore, when going through menopause, it is important to weigh the risks with the benefits and then make an educated decision with a reputable gynecologist. Without doubt, menopause is a tough time of life but with the proper treatment, support, and guidance, it does not have to be.
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