Menopause has been defined in Webster’s as, “The period of natural cessation of menstruation occurring usually between the ages of 45 and 50.” We all know that’s the simple way of looking at it. There are a number of mental, physical and even emotional changes that can occur, although it is different with every woman.
I can recall my mother talking about how some women, "lost their minds" during this time. She describes how menopause was such a different experience for some back then. When just a little girl, she remembers an aunt who would sit and cry all the time. Looking back, she realizes now what was happening. My mother grew up in the deep South in the 50’s and 60’s where you did not ask questions regarding women’s health. If you did, you were promptly put in a child’s place and told not to be so ‘fast.’ In more than one way, we have definitely stepped out of those dark ages.
For one, we can be fully informed, no matter what age we are. Let’s talk about the changes that women experience at this time. According to the U.S. Department of Health, some of these changes are as follows: changes in cycles until it actually ceases, hot flashes, night sweats, tiredness, sleeping problems, vaginal changes (becoming dry and thin, resulting in painful sex), incontinence, sudden bouts of waistline bloat, heart palpitations, crying for no reason, temper outbursts, migraines, itchy/crawly skin, onset of osteoporosis, and memory lapses. Before you get overwhelmed by this list, it is important to remember that the severity and kind of symptoms a woman has varies due to all kinds of factors like: different hormone levels in different women, amount of stress, whether the person is a smoker or not, eating habits and the like.
For a number of women, the above symptoms will go away without medical assistance. However, women who are concerned about bone loss prevention in addition to temporarily treating menopause symptoms can talk to their health care provider about hormone therapy – estrogen and progestin.
Why Hormone Therapy?