Menopause can be a challenging condition to diagnose because its symptoms often vary widely and its onset can happen at almost any age. There are some common (and not-so-common) symptoms women can look out for, however, that may signal the beginning of the end of the reproductive years. Dr. Alqulali treats women before, during and after menopause.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause, also known as "the change," occurs when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. When this happens, the ability to conceive ends, as does menstruation. Women are said to be in menopause when they have not had a period for 12 months.
When Does Menopause Occur?
The average age when menopause starts is 51, but many symptoms typically begin around age 45. For some women, symptoms can start even earlier. Surgical menopause, also known as induced menopause, can happen at any age if both ovaries are removed.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
If you think about the most common symptoms of menopause, you probably immediately think of irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. While most women experience these symptoms during menopause, there are many other side effects of the condition. Less well-known symptoms include:
• Vaginal dryness and itchiness
• Weight gain, especially in the midsection
• Slowed metabolism
• Sagging skin
• Dry skin and overall reduced skin quality
• Gum disease and tooth loss
• Thinning hair
• Increased facial hair
• Loss of libido
What Else Should Women Know About Menopause?
During and after menopause, it is very important that women see their physicians regularly for their annual exams and checkups. Keeping regular appointments is so important, because women in menopause have an advanced risk of developing:
• Cardiovascular disease. Women in menopause have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
• Osteoporosis/Fractures. Menopause causes the loss of calcium and slows the growth of new bone cells, leaving women in menopause at risk of fractures.
• Urinary Incontinence. Women in menopause frequently experience urinary incontinence at higher rates.
• Breast Cancer. Women who experience menopause later in life have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who start menopause earlier.
The chance of these conditions is higher for women in menopause because the changes in hormones that occur during menopause cause significant changes in many of the body's systems. These hormone changes can lead to increased cholesterol and blood pressure as well as memory loss.
Do you think you are in menopause? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Alqulali today by calling 888-716-0559.