Menopause brings along a staggering sense of confusion as the body tries to come to terms with the onslaught of hormonal changes. Not very different from puberty, while some women sail past the stage others have to face serious and of exasperating symptoms associated with menopause. Although the normal menopausal age range is from 48 to 55 years, some women may experience symptoms 2 to 3 years before the onset of menopause. This often leads to serious ambiguity as other underlying health conditions may also cause similar symptoms. So, here is a look at how you can ascertain if you are on the threshold of menopause.
What is menopause?
Contrary to what most women believe, menopause is not just the cessation of the monthly menstrual cycle, rather this is just one part of the process. As the body ages, the secretion of important reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progestin progressively reduces. Because the estrogen level drops remarkably after the body has been fed of the hormone for several years, some very negative side effects are experienced by most women. However, it is essential to understand that the intensity of menopausal symptoms will not only depend on the level of estrogen in the body but also on genetic factors.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Some of the common symptoms of menopause include:
- Night sweats: A condition marked by sleep disturbances caused due to an increase in body temperature followed by profuse perspiration. Most women wake up in the middle of the night with their clothes and hair drenched and with a distinct chill.
- Hair loss: Menopause related hair loss is a very common symptom, the dwindling estrogen levels in the body adversely impact the hair follicles leading to an alarming increase in the rate of hair loss. Women find it difficult to contend with a brush full of hair locks every time they comb their hair.
- Depression: Since estrogen triggers a change in the brain, menopausal women often experience bouts of depression. Also, since some of the other symptoms of menopause cause significant sleep disturbances, this too leads to irritability and depression.
- Mood bouts: Estrogen impacts the emotional center of the brain hence women will often experience mood bouts when in the pre-menopausal and the menopausal stages.
- Weight fluctuations: Weight fluctuations are also a result of the diminishing levels of estrogen in the body. It is normal for most women to gain some amount of weight during menopause.
However, it is imperative to understand that a lot of these symptoms can also be associated with other underlying health conditions such as thyroid anomalies. While most women assume that these are the common signs that point towards the beginning of menopause, few realize that any health condition can be dealt with successfully only if its presence is established beyond a doubt. So, instead of shooting in the dark just on the basis of these symptoms, it is best to take a more concrete step to understand what is happening in your body.
Are there any tests to concretely determine if a woman is menopausal?
Until a few years ago, a visit to the physician and subsequent pathological tests were the only ways to determine if a woman was indeed in the menopausal stage. Fortunately, with the rapid progress in medical science, today most women can avail the benefits of a home menopause kit. Not very different from a pregnancy kit, the menopause home test also involves a basic urine sample check to analyze the presence/absence of a specific reproductive hormone in the urine.
The symptoms of menopause can be controlled through natural and holistic interventions as well as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy. However, it is vital to ascertain that you are indeed going through the menopausal stage. So, if you are in your late forties or early fifties and are experiencing some or all the symptoms mentioned above, it would be best to take a home menopause test.?