We all have a concept of what menopause is. However, few of us know what the term encompasses, beyond the meaning, changes, affectations and emotions that the entrance to this stage entails.
At 51, separated from her husband and with three teenage children, Maru began experiencing symptoms around menopause. Her hot flashes and insomnia became part of her daily life, while she dealt with her personal affairs and with her performance in the professional field, since she was in charge of the sub-management of the insurance company where she worked.
According to the menstrual biography, the rule is part of a woman’s life for around 40 years, from menarche or menarche (first menstruation), which occurs between the ages of 11 and 14, until menopause (last menstruation). , which occurs around age 50.
When and how does menopause come?
Once 12 consecutive months have elapsed since the last menstrual period, it can be noted that a woman reached menopausethat is, the end of the menstrual period, which usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
In the years prior to this point, women experience changes and alterations in the regularity of their monthly cycles, as ovulation decreases over time and the ovaries stop secreting the main female sex hormones; estrogens and progesteroneresponsible for the physiological and reproductive functions, as well as the protection of the body.
So that menopause, “is a single day in the life of women”, explains Miracles Kirpachco-founder of No Pausea multiplatform community dedicated to speaking, informing and accompanying more than 170 thousand women in Latin America, during this stage.
So, what happens in the body and life of the woman around the menopause, that is, before and after?
climacteric or menopause?
The climacteric is often confused with menopause. However, this is the transition period that includes before, during, and after the menopause. In this stage, a woman goes from a reproductive state to a non-reproductive one, where ovarian depletion and decreased estrogen cause a series of phenomena and changes that affect her entire organism.
Regularly, the climacteric lasts about 10 years; however, there are cases in which this period is shortened to seven and others in which it is extended to 14 years. Its duration depends on factors such as lifestyle, age at which it starts, race and ethnic origin, etc. The transition to menopause affects each woman uniquely and in various ways.
premenopause. Reproductive hormones start to drop. It can last for months or years and occurs when women experience changes in the regularity of their menstrual cycles.
perimenopause. It begins two or three years before menopause and ends one year after the last menstrual period. Irregular periods and symptoms are becoming more pronounced, with monthly breaks or closely followed periods of heavy or lighter bleeding than usual.
Menopause. It is the date of the last menstruation and represents the end of reproductive life.
Postmenopause. It has a longer duration. The lack of hormones can lead to other complications, while the body gets used to it. Cardiovascular and endocrine alterations and pathologies such as osteoporosis may occur at this time.
symptoms of menopause
Coping with the emotional part for Maru was the most difficult with the arrival of menopause. “Sometimes I reached depression, which I counteracted with my work and medications. It becomes a very sensitive one,” she recalls.
The symptoms that each woman presents is different, the intensity of the symptoms generally depends on the stage in which we find ourselves. There may be changes primarily in bone or heart health, body shape and composition, or physical function.
There are a total of 34 symptoms of menopause in the community of No Pause Up to 48 have been found among the physical, emotional, cognitive, and vulvovaginal. Hormonal fluctuations being responsible for each of these changes that women face throughout the different stages.
- Irregular menstrual periods
- hot flashes
- Insomnia and night sweats
- Humor changes
- brain fog
- sore breasts
- decreased libido
- vaginal dryness
- burning mouth syndrome
- Dry Skin
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- brittle nails
- urinary incontinence
- Muscle and joint pain
- Difficult to focus
- oral dryness
- changes in taste
- Increased body odor
Types of menopause:
- early. Commonly produced by premature ovarian failure (PFO) or premature ovarian failure (POI), before the age of 40.
- induced. It occurs after removal of the uterus and ovaries or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Rocío, 63, who went through early menopause, after she underwent a hysterectomy (removal of the womb) at the age of 39. “Hot flashes and extreme heat that runs through your body and you don’t stop sweating” are some of the symptoms that she remembers having suffered with greater intensity.
Stopping menstruation also costs women
After menopause, Maru, at 60 years of age, suffers havoc, “There remain some conditions typical of the lack of hormones, which generate joint problems (knee, spine and bone pain, fractures and/or sprains)”
Medical studies to address the transition to menopause —mammography and papanicolaou—, with an average cost between 450 and 550 pesos per study, as well as early diagnosis —densitometry (osteoporosis test)— which has a cost of around thousand 500 pesos, among others. In addition to the drugs and products used to treat postmenopause and prevalent diseases represent an extra expense in the life of a woman.
The additional expense is not the only cost that some women pay. In No Pause there have also been cases of intrafamily violencer caused by misinformation about the effects of the estrogen drop and its repercussion in the drop in sexual desire, symptoms typical of the stage.