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Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, as a biologic process in woman’s life when the function of ovaries ceases and she can no longer become pregnant. Menopause happens because the woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year. Changes and symptoms can start several years earlier. Hormonal changes and clinical symptoms occur gradually over a period of time generally known as perimenopause or menopausal transition leading to menopause.
Average age of menopause of an Indian women is 46.2 years, lesser than western counterparts (51 years).
Women usually might experience some of the following symptoms during menopause, or a few days to months ahead of menopause, with varying degrees of severity:
After menopause risk of certain medical conditions increases:
Indian Menopause Society (IMS), established in 1995, is committed to foster the comprehensive well-being of mature and elderly Indian women and increase awareness regarding menopause and aging through publ ic health and education activities
Onset of menopause occurs usually around the age 50. But in some cases, it may start as early as mid-40’s, or may not start until a woman reaches her late 50’s. If a woman has not had a menstrual period for a year, it is generally accepted that she has reached menopause. In some cases, the doctor may recommend a diagnostic test to check blood levels for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen (estradiol), because FSH levels increase and estradiol levels decrease with the onset of menopause
The timing of symptoms varies significantly in menopause, where they might occur at the onset or in some cases may start even years before a womans final menstrual periods. While in some cases, women may experience symptoms for months or years after the onset of menopause.
Symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats and weight gain
There are three stages of menopause:
The average length of perimenopause is 4 years, but in some cases this stage may last for only a few months or continue for even up to 10 years. Perimenopause ends when a woman has gone 12 months without having her period
To diagnose menopause or perimenopause, doctor may suggest blood test to check follicle stimulating test (FSH) level, as menopause causes FSH levels to rise. Under certain circumstances, doctor may also suggest for thyroid function test to determine the thyroid-stimulating hormone level, as it causes similar symptoms to those seen in menopause.