simple dictionary definition of menopause is:
"Cessation of menstruation in the human female, occurring
usually around the age of 50". The term "menopause"
includes different stages, perimenopause,
menopause, and postmenopause. Menopause
is also referred to as the "Change
of Life", the period in the life of a woman when
menstruation and the capacity for conception cease, usually
occurring typically between forty-five and fifty years of age.
woman is considered to be in menopause when her menstrual periods
have stopped for a full 12 months. Some women experience their
"change of life" as early as age 35, and others will
experience this change as late as age 60.
menopause occurs as a result of aging, but can happen early
as a result of certain illnesses such as eating disorders, cancer,
thyroid disease, and problems associated with the pituitary
gland. Some medications can produce side effects that can bring
two most notable signs of menopause, along with the missing
periods are hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
(or premenopause) is the three to five year period before a
woman reaches menopause. At this time, estrogen
and progesterone levels begin to drop, causing changes in a
woman's menstrual cycles such as irregular, heavy, or missed
periods . Other symptoms that may begin
to occur, are mood swings, depression, inability to sleep through
the night, fatigue, and short-term memory loss, and most notably
hot flashes and irregular menstrual periods.
referred to as menopause) is the period following the 12 months
of cessation of a woman's menstrual cycle. During this phase,
symptoms typically subside, however, some women continue to
experience certain symptoms related to hormonal imbalance. The
most notable symptoms during postmenopause are vaginal dryness,
bladder disorders and osteoporosis.
Fibroid tumors in
the uterus are sensitive to estrogen in the body. The more estrogen,
or estrogen like (xenoestrogen) substances in your body, the
more the fibroids will grow. 30-50 percent of the women over
the age of 30 in the United States have fibroid tumors. These
are benign growths (which means that they are not cancerous)
within the muscular walls of the uterus. Most women never know
they have fibroids, most are found incidentally upon routine
examination of the uterus. Fibroids aren't necessarily a health
risk, they very rarely are cancerous, and unless they are causing
extreme amount of bleeding, or infertility the fibroids don't
necessarily need to be surgically removed, and if they do, it
isn't always necessary to remove the uterus. See Progesterone
Brain and Estrogen
It seems as though low doses
of Estradiol (our own weakest estrogen, and the one most prominent
in older women) is protective to brain function. One of the
most common complaints of pre and post menopausal women is the
"foggy thinking", this is most likely due to the lower
estrogen in our systems.
Estradiol can be found in an over the counter cream, or by prescription
from your medical doctor as Vivelle.
X et al, "Brain estrogen deficiency accelerates Abeta plaque
formation in an Alzheimer's disease animal model, " Proc.
Natl. Acad. Sci, Dec. 27, 2005.
Wise PM, "Estrogen therapy: does it help or hurt the adult
and aging brain? Insights derived from animal models,"
Neuroscience, Nov. 28, 2006.
3. Goodman Y et al, "Estrogens
attenuate and Corticosterone exacerbates excitotoxicity, oxidative
injury and amyloid beta-peptide toxicity in hippocampal neurons,"
J. Neurochem. 66:1996.
Brain and Progesterone
given within 11 hours of the injury has shown to be very helpful,
not only for the brain, but for overall survival rate (from
30 - 50%). And, significant functional improvement was found
in those using progesterone.
researchers found that using progesterone may limit damage from
strokes (caused by a blood clot).
are showing that progesterone may be protective to the brain
in regard to Alzheimer's. They also state that the synthetic
progestins do not have the same protective effect; in fact they
even inhibit estrogen's natural protection.
1. Neuropharmacology, November 2006
2. Pharmacol Biochem. Behavior, July 2006
3. Exp. Neurol, August 2006
4. Ann Emerg. Med, April 2006
5. Singh, M. Ann. N.Y. Accad. Sci. 1052, 2005
Common Symptoms of Menopause*
- Hot flashes, night sweats, and/or cold flashes
- Bouts of rapid heartbeat
- Mood swings, sudden tears
- Trouble sleeping through the night
- Irregular menstrual periods: shorter, lighter
or heavier periods, flooding, and phantom periods
- Loss of libido(sexual drive)
- Dry vagina (results in painful intercourse)
- Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
- Feelings of dread, apprehension, and doom
- Difficulty concentrating, disorientation,
and mental confusion.
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Incontinence, especially upon sneezing,
- Itchy, crawly skin (feeling of ants crawling
under the skin, not just dry, itchy skin)
- Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons.
(May include such problems as carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Increased tension in muscles
- Breast tenderness
- Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion,
flatulence, gas pain, nausea
- Sudden bouts of bloat
- Depression (the inability to cope is overwhelming,
there is a feeling of a loss of self)
note: Some of the above symptoms can also be symptoms of other
disorders or diseases.
This list of the signs of peri-menopause
and menopause was developed by women on the Internet 'Menopaus'
mailing list, based at St. John's University. The list is based
on the real life experiences of these women. All symptoms appearing
on the list were experienced by numerous women and were either
cyclical in nature, or responded to treatments (both traditional
and alternative) known to address hormonal imbalances.
The electronic mailing list
has approximately 675 subscribers, with about 230 participating
actively at the time the list of menopause signs was developed
in January 1996
The women who directly
contributed text and/or ideas to this list of signs are:
Judy Bayliss - founder & owner of the Menopause
Lucy L. Brown, PH.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx NY 10461
||Bonnie Dreps Voigtlander
||Roberta J. Leon
||Jennifer Hesketh Aviles