What is menopause?
Menopause is the opposite of the
menarche. It is also called the
"change of life".
Menopause is defined as the time when there has been no menstrual
periods for 12 consecutive months and no other biological or
physiological cause can be identified. It is the end of fertility, the
end of the childbearing years. (A woman may still, however, be able to
become pregnant unless 12 consecutive months have passed without a
A woman can usually tell if she is approaching menopause because her
menstrual periods starts changing. The medical terms used to describe
this time are "perimenopause" and the "menopause transition".
Natural menopause occurs when the ovaries naturally begin decreasing
their production of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
The timing of natural menopause is variable. In the western world the
average age is now 51. Natural menopause can, however, be in a woman's
30s or 60s.
Factors influencing the time of menopause include:
► Heredity (genetics)
► Cigarette smoking; Smokers (andformer smokers) reach menopause an
average of 2 years before women who have never smoked.
There is no relation between the time of a woman's first period and her
age at menopause. The age at menopause is not influenced by a woman's
race, height, number of children or use of oral contraceptives.
Symptoms of menopause:
Menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process
of transition. This transition period (known as perimenopause) is
different for each woman.
Scientists are still trying to identify all
the factors that initiate and influence this transition. Women in
perimenopause transition typically experience abnormal vaginal bleeding
such as erratic periods or abnormal bleeding patterns and sudden hot
blushing. Eventually a woman's periods will completely stop as she
completes this transition into menopause.
The symptoms of the menopause transition can be divided into early and
late onset symptoms:
► Irregular vaginal bleeding
► Hot flashes
► Night sweats
► Vaginal dryness
Changes associated with menopause include:
► Night sweats
► Mood swings
► Vaginal dryness
► Fluctuations in sexual desire (libido)
► Trouble sleeping
► Fatigue (probably from the loss of sleep)
Conditions that have not been proved due to the menopause include:
► Palpitations of the heart
It is a metabolic bone disease in which the amount of bone tissue is
reduced sufficiently to increase the likelihood of fracture, occurring
especially in women following menopause and often leading to:
► Curvature of the spine from vertebral collapse
► Fractures of the vertebrae
► Femur (hip) and wrist are the most common osteoporotic fractures, but
other bones such as the ribs, upper arm, and pelvis may also fracture.
That features loss of the normal density of bone and fragile bone.
Osteoporosis leads to literally abnormally porous bone that is more
compressible like a sponge, than dense like a brick.
Although low bone mass is the major factor in osteoporotic fractures,
there may also be qualitative and architectural changes in bone with
aging that lead to increased fragility.
Types of osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis can be primary or secondary.
Occurs independently of other causes
► Primary osteoporosis occurring in children is called
► That occurring in premenopausal women and middle-aged or
young men is known as" idiopathic osteoporosis"
The secondary osteoporosis:
Result from identifiable causes:
► Exogenous cortisone administration
► Cushing's disease
► Multiple myeloma
► Prolonged immobilization
► Anorexia nervosa
► Various gastrointestinal disorders.
Osteoporosis, which is found in older persons, can be classified as
postmenopausal (type I) or involutional osteoporosis(type