Sooner or later, every woman begins to think about the onset of one of the important periods in her life—menopause. Often these thoughts cause concern, because the condition is associated with certain physical and psychological changes that can affect the existing way of life.
Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s body, resulting in the completion of menstrual function. This stage of physiological changes is programmed genetically, and its manifestations and timing are determined by many factors.
Many women anxiously await this stage of their lives. And it’s understandable. This period is caused by the fading activity of the ovaries—namely their ovulatory and hormonal function. In other words, menopause can be defined as the transition from the reproductive phase to the non-reproductive phase, in which the possibility of natural conception and birth of a child disappears.
Natural means the non-surgical, manifestations of menopause in women. There are several age groups; the most often begins the fading of reproductive function.
- premature menopause: up to 40 years
- early menopause: about 40-45 years
- timely menopause: between 46-54 years (which is considered normal at the current life expectancy)
- late menopause: from 55 years and above
For most women, the first changes in their condition are caused by the fading of reproductive function, which is noted up to 45-50 years. Modern medicine divides this process into several separate stages.
In medical practice, several concepts are shared.
Natural menopause is largely caused by genetic and internal factors.
Pathological, as a consequence of hormonal disease or drug correction of the hormonal background. But there are features in which the timing can shift significantly.
Early menopause is diagnosed if menstruation disappears before the age of 40, late menopause occurs at the age of 56-65 years.
There are also stages of transition of a woman’s body from a reproductive to a non-reproductive phase:
- premenopause: this phase which is also called reproductive is concluded in the phase between the beginning of menstruation and their end during menopause.
- perimenopause: this is the immediate phase of time preceding the disappearance of menstruation (from 2 to 8 years before the last menstruation) and the phase of 1 to 2 years after the disappearance of menstruation. This phase is most problematic for the woman—hormonal changes affect the psycho-emotional background, menstruation becomes irregular, changes in the level of sex hormones entails disturbances in metabolic processes, cosmetic changes (virilization, weight gain), as well as disorders in the work of some organs and systems.
- postmenopause: this phase comes after the last menstruation and its duration is individual—for the rest of a woman’s life.
What factors influence the timing of menopause?
- Genetic: This refers to the genetically determined number of ovarian follicles, the ability of these follicles to synthesize estrogen during maturation, and the work of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are actively involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle, which are largely genetically programmed.
- Social-economic: It is statistically defined that among women with higher incomes, not involved in the work where physical labor or long-term neuro-mental tension menopause comes later.
- Geographical: In many ways, the abundance of the sun contributes to the earlier onset of menstruation and their later termination.
- Psychological: Frequent stressors, neuropsychic overexertion, and constant emotional shocks can bring on menopause.
- Behavioral: Among women who have an active sexual life, and who are satisfied with sexual relations, menopause tends to occur a little later than among women with infrequent sexual relations.
- Chronic diseases of various organs and systems: Mental disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, and cancer can influence when menopause occurs.
What is the mechanism of menopause?
The onset of menopause is a multifactorial process. In fact, in parallel in the woman’s body there are a number of changes leading to the disappearance of menstruation. The decrease in the following is what occurs:
- number of ovarian follicles: this process is partly due to the fact that some of the intrauterine follicles have matured and, as a result of ovulation, have been brought into independent swimming of the egg.
- reducing the sensitivity of follicles to the hormones of the pituitary gland: in many respects it is caused by genetics.
- reducing the secretion of estrogens by the ovaries: this factor is associated with the mechanism described above.
- violation of the secretion of pituitary hormones: in many respects this process is caused by genetics.
Prevention of Early Menopause
Modern studies have found that women who are at risk for early menopause are women who do or have done the following:
- practice frequent abortions
- suffer from alcoholism
- have irregular sexual activity
Dr. Bachurina Lydia was born in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1971. Since childhood, she wanted to be a doctor. After school she graduated from the Tashkent Medical Institute, worked as a therapist for four years, and then worked in cardiology for three years. After moving to Russia, she was certified and worked as a geriatrician for four years. Dr. Lydia is married with two sons and maintains “Beauty and Health Blog from LiDea” dedicated to medicine. She currently lives and works in Russia.
Follow Dr. Lydia on Twitter @xBXQjNpKwqIj8RI @Лидия