Cause and Symptoms of Menopause Q&A
If you are experiencing any menopausal symptoms and are around the typical age for which menopause commences, a visit with Dr. Prema Kothandaraman will provide an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment options to help manage symptoms and increase comfort through the changes. Our clinics are located in Arcadia, CA, and Glendale, CA. For more information, contact us today or book an appointment online.
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All individuals who are assigned female at birth will eventually undergo menopause as they age, likely encountering the common symptoms and biological changes.
Menopause is a very natural biological process that occurs in females as they age, resulting in a variety of symptoms. The naturally occurring factors that lead to menopause include a decrease in the production of estrogen and progesterone, which are the hormones that are necessary for regulating the menstrual cycle. These hormones are produced in the ovaries, and the natural aging process in females slows down the production of these hormones as well as the number of eggs that are released monthly, resulting in significant anatomical changes through shifting hormone levels including decreased frequency of periods and decreased fertility. Menopause can be brought about much earlier if the individual has undergone a surgical procedure or condition that has resulted in the removal or damage to the ovaries. Treatments for cancer including chemotherapy and radiation are known to cause damage to the ovaries, often resulting in early menopausal symptoms.
The process of going through menopause can take several years before the symptoms will lessen, starting with perimenopause, which is the time in which the symptoms commence and endures until menopause has been reached. Common symptoms that are experienced once perimenopause has commenced include:
● Irregular or missed periods
● Hot flashes
● Night sweats
● Trouble sleeping
● Vaginal dryness
● Changes in mood
● Slowed metabolism and unexplained weight gain
● Loss of volume or fullness of the breasts
● Hair thinning
● Dry skin
When going through perimenopause, it is common to miss one or more periods in a row and then to return to a normal cycle for several months, but often with the periods occurring on a shorter cycle, making them occur more frequently than typical. The symptoms that each individual may experience can change over several months, resulting in many people experiencing some symptoms in the early stages of perimenopause, and developing different symptoms later on. Menopause is considered to be reached once the individual has not had a period in over 12 months, but the symptoms may persist for a while after, gradually lessening with time.
It is common for menopausal symptoms to start to appear in females aged 45 to 55 years old and to last for up to 10 years with most people experiencing symptoms for around 5 years or less. Typically, the symptoms will diminish entirely around 4 years after the last period. The age at which the menopausal symptoms may start to appear and the longevity of the symptoms can be affected by several factors, including having a family history of early menopause, how healthy the individual is, and if they have undergone any surgical procedures or treatments that have affected their body’s ability to produce hormones. If menopausal symptoms commence before age 45, that is considered to be early menopause, and before the age of 40 is considered to be premature menopause, both of which are very unlikely barring any significant health conditions or surgical procedures that would lead to an early menopause.
Most physicians will be able to confirm whether or not you are going through menopause according to the displayed symptoms but can confirm the diagnosis through a blood test to assess the hormone levels. If you are visiting a physician to see if menopause has started, it is recommended that you keep track of your menstrual cycle, including the timing in between periods, noting any irregularities in frequency or severity, along with any other changes you have noticed in your daily life including sleeping habits and other common symptoms of menopause. If you are younger than 45 years old, you will likely be recommended to complete a blood test to confirm that the biological changes are due to menopause. Our clinics are located in Arcadia, CA, and Glendale, CA. For more information, contact us today or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Arcadia CA, Glendale CA, Monrovia CA, Pasadena CA, Los Angeles CA, Burbank CA, and surrounding areas.