Simply put, menopause refers to the stage in a
woman’s reproductive life when she stops
experiencing her monthly menstrual flow. It actually
signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life.
In other words, at menopause, a woman can no longer
expect to procreate or give birth to children. Normally,
the transition from the fertile period of a woman’s life
to menopause is not a drastic one – it usually takes
place over several years during which her period may
become erratic or irregular until it eventually comes to
a halt. Averagely, the typical Nigerian woman attains
menopause between 45 and 54 years of age.
In order to better handle this peculiar stage of life, it is
essential for every woman to understand a few salient
facts regarding menopause:
1. Menopause Is Not A Disease
Just like pregnancy, menopause is a natural phase of
a woman’s reproductive life.
However, because of the gross hormonal changes that
take place around menopause, many women often
experience unpleasant sensations like hot flushes and
poor sleep, albeit to varying degrees based on
individual differences. According to Karen Deighan,
MD, an associate professor of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, attitude and outlook are key to coping
with the challenges of menopause.
2. Menopause Is 12 Months Without A Period
In the period leading up to menopause, a woman may
often go several months without seeing her period.
However, she can only be said to have attained
menopause when she has not had a menstrual flow
for 12 uninterrupted months. At menopause, the
ovaries cease producing eggs as well as estrogen
which are critical to the shedding of the uterine lining
(menstruation). A few years prior to menopause, it’s
not out of place for a woman not to see her menstrual
flow for months or to see it more than once in a
month. In the same vein, there is fluctuation in volume
ranging from mere spotting to a heavier-than-usual
3. Menopause Before 40 Years Is Considered Early
While the age of attainment of menopause tends to
vary among different races, most women in Nigeria are
likely to attain menopause sometime between 45 and
54 years. Note that menopause before 40 years is
premature and is often a result of premature ovarian
failure. Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders
as well as chemotherapy or exposure to radiation can
also damage the ovaries and lead to early menopause.
Similarly, women who have had their ovaries removed
before 40 years as part of a medical treatment
invariably experience surgical menopause.
4. Menopause May Be Symptomatic
According to the North American Menopause Society
(NAMS), hot flush is the most well-known symptom of
menopause. It is an intense feeling of warmth, lasting
for a few seconds to several minutes. It may start
from inside the abdomen before eventually spreading
to the face. It leads to night sweats at night.
Furthermore, menopause may be associated with
sleep difficulties, headache, memory problems, mood
changes and v*ginal dryness.
5. Menopause May Lead To Bone Loss
On account of a cessation in estrogen production by
the ovaries, bone loss often sets in during menopause,
rendering many women more prone to fractures.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a
woman may experience as much as a 20% drop in bone density
within 5 – 7 years after menopause. To
mitigate this problem, women should get enough
calcium in their diets, vitamin D from sunlight and
indulge in routine weight-bearing exercises.
6. Increased Risk For Heart Diseases
Research has shown that the hormone, estrogen tends
to have a protective effect on the heart. Consequently,
at menopause, with a fall in estrogen levels, a
woman’s risk of cardiovascular diseases such as
heart attack and stroke tends to increase especially if
she leads a sedentary lifestyle with high blood
pressure and cholesterol.
7. Hormonal Therapy Relieves Menopausal Symptoms
It’s been observed that short-term use of hormones
such as estrogen and progesterone helps to relieve
many of the problems of menopause such as hot
flushes and bone loss. However, take note that
prolonged use of these hormonal replacements can
increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
According to Deighan, 6 months to 2 years of
hormonal treatment can help women get through the
worst symptoms of menopause.
In conclusion, despite the numerous challenges of
menopause, women can still take solace in the fact
that gynaecologic problems like fibroids and
endometriosis tend to abate after menopause as a
result of a fall in hormone levels. Plus the monthly
stress of periods, which are sometimes painful and
heavy has become a thing of the past!
Tgang 21 Mar 2016 00:24
adeitura 21 Mar 2016 22:03
FeliciaChristian 21 Mar 2016 22:40
Tonyiloka1 21 Mar 2016 23:59
volsungg 22 Mar 2016 00:07
Young doctor of our time d guy must b scientist nice post indeed
ch4sur 22 Mar 2016 11:30
gladden 22 Mar 2016 16:46