Menopause

The menopause is the phase of transition from a woman's period of fertility to when the menstrual cycle stops permanently.

Overview

The menopause is the phase of transition from a woman's period of fertility to when the menstrual cycle stops permanently. This phase is characterised by irregular periods that usually become lighter before finally stopping altogether. During this time, two-thirds of women can have physical and mental symptoms that vary in severity.

Symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Natural biological process
  • Can’t be avoided
  • Slow decline in egg maturation and hormone production in the ovaries
  • Time: usually starts between the ages of 45 and 50, ends between 55 and 65
  • Definition
    • Change of life (climacteric): phase of transition from a woman's period of fertility to when the menstrual cycle stops permanently
    • Menopause: date of the last period (retroactively if there were no periods for 1 year)
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 change of life and thereafter
  • 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

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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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