Why Should We Care About Menopause? Part 2

Women's Health |

It’s going to be difficult for an 80-year-old woman to defy her age for one-third of her life, regardless of genetics and plastic surgery. It should not be an impossible goal to have 80-year-old women take pride in their appearance, enjoy their favorite hobbies that may include dancing, swimming, hiking, etc., and continue to expand their minds.

Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer have functional eggs. This post-menopausal ovary does not produce the hormones it once did when it was functioning to produce an egg each month. Since the ovaries are the major producers of estrogen in the body, estrogen levels are very low after the onset of menopause.

Falling estrogen levels may be associated with what are called “climacteric symptoms” including hot flashes/flushes, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, and changes in mood. These climacteric symptoms may occur even before a woman becomes post-menopausal, especially in perimenopause, the period that occurs before menopause onset.

While it is the climacteric symptoms that often bring a woman to her healthcare provider, it is the long-term effects of a decreased estrogen environment, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis which may cause a woman long-term health problems.

Both the short- and long-term consequences of a post-menopausal woman’s decreased estrogen environment can be prevented and treated through lifestyle changes as well as standard and possibly alternative medicines.

Women have many options for menopause management. Hopefully, this column will answer questions and enable women to make more informed choices.

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