Menopause (woman's change of life)

The menopause or climacteric is the time in a woman's life when hormonal changes mean that her period of fertility is ending.

Overview

The menopause or climacteric is the time in a woman's life when hormonal changes mean that her period of fertility is ending. The first part of this transition is the perimenopause, i.e. the period of time shortly before menstruation stops. This is followed by the menopause, when a women has her final menstrual period. When no menstruation has occurred for one year, a woman is considered to have entered the postmenopause. During this time, two-thirds of women can have physical and mental symptoms that vary in severity.

Symptoms

  • Physical symptoms
  • Psychological symptoms
    • Sleep disorders
    • Fatigue, reduced ability to perform
    • Mood swings, nervousness, irritability, depression

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Natural biological process
  • Can’t be avoided
  • Slow decline in egg maturation and oestrogen production in the ovaries
  • Time: usually starts between the ages of 45 and 50, ends between 55 and 65
Risk factors for early menopause:
  • Surgical removal of ovaries (possibly together with the uterus)
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chemotherapy
  • Family predisposition
  • Smoking
Risk factors for more severe symptoms:
  • Coffee, alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Food that is difficult to digest
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Overheated living and sleeping environment

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests:
  • Regular examinations to exclude cancer remain a good idea during the menopause and postmenopause (especially in the case of hormone replacement therapy)
  • Measurement of hormone levels in the blood
Possible medical therapies:
  • Hormone replacement therapy (side effects must be discussed)
  • Alternative medical practices

What can I do myself?

  • Physical activity (sport, fitness training)
  • Alternating hot and cold showers or relaxing baths
  • Stress reduction and relaxation
  • Balanced, vitamin-rich, wholefood diet (plus calcium and trace elements)
  • Sufficient fluid intake (> 2 litres/day)
  • Phytotherapy (active ingredient: black cohosh, chasteberry, St. John’s wort, soya)
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Swiss Menopause Society (Schweizerische Menopausengesellschaft)
www.meno-pause.ch

Synonyms

change of life, climacteric and menopause, menopause, climacteric

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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