Women's Health - Menopause Symptoms

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What were your first symptoms and signs of menopause? Which symptoms were/have been the most challenging?

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The term menopause is used to describe an event or a period of time in a woman's life. In some contexts, it is used to designate a period of a number of years, typically the time when a woman is in her 40's through the decade of her 50's and beyond. Strictly speaking, a woman is said to have experienced menopause when she has had 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. On the average, menopause occurs around 51 years of age. The premenopausal process, however, actually begins in the early 40's or earlier. Diminishing sex hormone levels can be measured in a woman in her mid-30's.

"Menopausal" women represent a major component of the population; an estimated 50 million women in the US have reached menopause. Most women can expect to spend around 1/3 of their lives after menopause has occurred.

Menopause has often been referred to as "the change of life" because it is a time in a woman's life when menstruation stops and she can no longer bear children. Symptoms of menopause may include:

  • hot flashes,
  • mood swings,
  • vaginal dryness,
  • fluctuations in sexual desire,
  • forgetfulness,
  • trouble sleeping, and
  • urinary incontinence.

Until the 1950's, society's attitude was that menopause is a woman's destiny and she should just accept it. Now there are many medical strategies to cope with the symptoms of menopause. Women are encouraged to think of menopause not as a cataclysmic event in life, but merely as a time of transition.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Confused, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 14

I am a 50 year women that goes 6 to 9 months without having a period, then gets a light one barely spotting. Also, instead of the decrease in libido, I have an increase. This last time I went almost the full year without a period.

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Comment from: mother of 5, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I am 46 years old. I have not gotten my monthly periods for the last 3 months. I did a pregnancy test and tested negative. This has occurred for the second time now. My biggest worry is, if I can get pregnant under menopause condition. I am married and use calendar system as pregnancy control.

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