Menopause – Understanding the Importance


Menopause is a normal and a natural part of the ageing process which affects every woman. For some women, it can be a positive experience. However, for many, it can have a significant negative impact on their health. The menopausal transition can be gradual, usually beginning with changes in the menstrual cycle. The symptoms can be disruptive to personal and professional lives, and the hormonal changes associated with menopause can affect physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being.

Today, we will be discussing the importance of menopause with Sheena Hadi - Humanistic Integrative Counselor and what are the options for the management and treatment of menopause.

What is Menopause?

According to Sheena, “Menopause is the end of menstruation. The average age of the menopause is 51 years. However, it can occur much earlier, either naturally, with no identifiable underlying cause.”

Menopause is a point in time when a woman misses the menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55 but can develop before or after this age range. The time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause. Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain.

Many factors help determine when can menopause begin, including genetics and ovary health. Menopause may occur due to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in the body.

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with menopause include:

•              Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms;

•              Night sweats;

•              Changes in the regularity and flow of the menstrual cycle;

•              Vaginal dryness;

•              Difficulty sleeping;

•              Urinary urgency;

•              Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings or mild depression);

•              Dry skin, dry eyes, or dry mouth;

•              Breast tenderness;

•              Weight gain;

•              Memory problems;

•              Reduced libido or sex drive;

•              Headaches;

•              Painful or stiff joints;

•              Hair thinning or loss;

•              Increased hair growth in other areas.

Not everyone will have the same symptoms as they transition to menopause. Some people may have intense symptoms of menopause, while others have mild symptoms.

Despite irregular periods, pregnancy is possible. If a period is skipped and the menopausal transition is unsure, it is suggested to consider a pregnancy test.

Stages of Menopause

Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that does not happen because of any type of medical treatment.

The process is gradual and happens in three stages:

•              Perimenopause: This happens when the body starts transitioning to menopause. A woman’s ovaries slowly make less estrogen. The menstrual periods become irregular and may be late or completely skipped. In the last 1 to 2 years of this stage, estrogen levels fall faster. At this stage, many people may experience menopause symptoms such as less frequent menstruation, heavier or lighter periods, and vasomotor symptoms (VMS).

•              Menopause: This is when it has been a year since a woman had a menstrual period. The ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making most of their estrogen.

•              Postmenopause: This is the name given to the time after a woman has not experienced a menstrual period for an entire year. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, may get better. However, some people continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after the menopause transition. As a result of a lower estrogen level, people in the postmenopausal phase are at an increased risk for several health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.


A doctor can help to make a treatment plan to manage the symptoms of menopause as every woman is different and has unique needs.

The main types of treatment for menopause are:

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Sheena explains, “Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of menopause.” During menopause, the body goes through major hormonal changes — decreasing the amount of hormones it makes. When the ovaries no longer make enough estrogen and progesterone, hormone therapy can make up for lost hormones. Hormone therapy boosts hormone levels and can help symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It can also help prevent osteoporosis.

Non-hormonal Treatments: Nonhormonal treatments include changes to diet and lifestyle. These treatments are often good options for people who have other medical conditions or have recently been treated for breast cancer. The treatments may include:

•              Having a nutritious diet;

•              Taking supplements;

•              Avoiding triggers to hot flashes;

•              Exercising and maintaining weight;

•              Practicing relaxation techniques;

•              Taking care of your skin;

•              Managing sleeping issues;

•              Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol use;

Health risks associated with Menopause

Sheena says, “In addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain. The decrease in estrogen may lead to potential health implications which every woman needs to be aware of.”

There are several conditions that a woman could be at a higher risk of after menopause. The risk for any condition depends on many things like family history, medical health before menopause and lifestyle factors.

Sheena further adds, “Lower levels of estrogen may increase a woman's risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, blood clots or breast cancer.”


Women need to take steps to educate themselves and those around them about menopause and its impact on their life. Learning about what is happening in their body will empower them to take an action. Therefore, communication is the key. Talk to a family member, loved one or friend or a therapist, if required about any feelings of anxiety, mood changes, or depression. Preventive health care is recommended. Keep up with regular visits with the doctor for any medical concerns.

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If you or someone you know wants to talk regarding menopause and perimenopause, schedule an appointment with a gynaecologist right away. For more information on Gynaecologists in Karachi or an appointment with experienced therapist contact shifaam today and click on the links below:


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