Menopause is the natural termination of the menstrual cycle – when women do not get their periods for a year. Women between 45-55 years of age undergo menopause though a slight variation in the age bracket is normal.

Menopause between 40-45 years is called early menopause. While menopause is before 40, it is called premature menopause.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Increasing duration between periods
  • Very long or very short periods
  • Hot flashes
  • Sweating at night
  • Headaches
  • Inability to sleep
  • Mental issues like depression, anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Tenderness in breasts
  • Loss of hair
  • Pain in the joints
  • Increase in weight
  • Lack of interest in sex

Causes and Risk Factors

Menopause is normal. As the production of the reproductive hormones in women’s bodies reduces with age, menopause results. However, in some cases menopause can be brought about by:

  • Removing the ovaries surgically
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer treatment


  • Increase in weight
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Women are more prone to osteoporosis after menopause
  • Inability to contain urine (incontinence)


The symptoms are usually enough to diagnose menopause. But hormone tests are also available for diagnosis. They involve checking the level of the follicle stimulating hormone and estrogen. As hypothyroidism can also present symptoms similar to menopause, the thyroid stimulating hormone level can also be checked to rule out hypothyroidism.


There is no surgical treatment for menopause. However, the symptoms of menopause can be treated to provide some relief to the patient. The exact treatment depends on what the patient is experiencing and can involve one or more of the following:

  • Estrogen therapy
  • Vaginal estrogen (applied directly to vagina)
  • Anti-depressants in low doses
  • Vitamin D to prevent osteoporotic changes


There is no preventing menopause but making good lifestyle choices, eating nutritious food, exercising, practicing relaxation techniques and getting adequate sleep will make dealing with menopause easier.

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