Menopause: complaints and causes

Article content

  • Menopause: complaints & causes
  • Menopause: effects & consequences
  • Menopause: hormone therapy
  • Menopause: alternative treatment

In Germany, about eight million women are between 45 and 60 years old. You are just before, in the middle or just after the menopause. Although menopause is not a disease, up to 80 percent of them have climacteric symptoms. Every third woman in this age group suffers so severely that she can only deal with everyday life without treatment.

Phases of menopause: definition

Menopause, medical as well climacteric are divided into three separate phases, all of which are based on the menopause, So the Time of the last menstrual period, Respectively.

  • The premenopausal is the time before the menopause and affects mostly women between the 40th and the 50th year of life. The secretion of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) increases slightly. The production of the luteal hormone progesterone, however, decreases. This can cause the periods between two bleeding to shorten. The period still occurs regularly. Because estrogen levels are often elevated, individual bleeding may be more intense and last longer.
  • The "high phase" of menopause is the Perimenopause. It lasts on average six to seven years. Here it usually comes to significant irregularities in the cycle up to the complete absence of the menstrual period. The formation of progestogens decreases faster than that of estrogens, so that the concentration ratio between progesterone and estrogens varies greatly. Those affected may experience hot flushes, tachycardia, mood swings or increased nervousness.
  • The postmenopause begins one year after the last period and lasts until the hormone balance reaches a new stable level. The menopausal symptoms subsided. The end of the postmenopause and thus the end of the menopause is different from woman to woman and depends on the hormonal changes in addition to the subjective experience of the symptoms.

When do the menopause begin?

On average, women are 51 years old at their last menstrual period. The exact time of menopause can be defined retroactively, if no further menstrual bleeding for one year is done. Overall, the period of menopause can last about ten to 15 years.

Due to the significantly increased life expectancy, women today often spend more than a third of their life after menopause. For them it is therefore crucial how they come through the menopause. For many, this phase is a chance to change and begin a new phase of life in which they re-recognize themselves as personalities rather than just nesters for the family.

Symptoms in the climacteric

About 20% of women have little or no symptoms during menopause. Your body can do without external help.

But in a fifth of all women, the hormone level drops so fast that it is perceived as a physical and emotional burden. When the first signs appear you should talk to your gynecologist about it. He can help you with the transition to this new stage of life and help you make the right treatment.

With advancing age, it can come to the following complaints among other things by the missing hormones:

  • Regression of the mucous membranes in the vagina
  • slackening
  • bone loss
  • Heart / circulatory problems
  • Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and associated incontinence
  • decreasing hair growth and hair loss

Complaints and their medical causes

Menopause is a physiological process of change. The massive ones Fluctuations in the estrogen level often express themselves as irregularities in temperature regulation and are perceived in the form of hot flashes, sweats or redness.

In addition, vegetative changes can occur, ie changes in the nervous system, which is not deliberately controlled and regulates vital functions such as heartbeat, respiration, digestion and metabolism.

Frequent symptoms during the menopause

The frequency of the various menopausal symptoms is shown in the following table:

Frequency of menopausal symptoms in women between the ages of 45 and 54 yearspercent
Nervousness, irritability90 %
Fatigue, lethargy, performance decline80 %
Hot flashes, sweats70 %
Depressed mood, wine cramps70 %
a headache70 %
Forgetfulness, lack of concentration65 %
increase in weight60 %
sleep disorders50 %
Joint and muscle pain50 %
constipation40 %
heart problems40 %
Libido loss (decreased sexual desire)30 %
Paresthesia (sensory disturbances such as tingling or numbness)25 %
dizziness20 %

Hormones play crazy

Progesterone and estrogens have an opposite effect on the autonomic nervous system. For many women, the ever-changing concentration ratio of hormones is associated with palpitations, increased nervousness, sleep disturbances or mood swings.

The real symptoms of estrogen deficiency first appear in the postmenopausal period. They affect the female reproductive organs, the main target organs of the estrogens and can show up as a dry vagina, bladder weakness and altered sexuality.

Non-medical changes in middle age

The characteristic menopausal symptoms are not only hormonally explainable. Although mood swings actually reflect the upsurge of hormone levels, the causes are more diverse. Individual constitution, family situation, but also life history and socio-economic factors are determining how women individually experience and manage the climacteric transitional phase.

In addition to the physical changes that are often associated with a particular emotional sensitivity, the menopause phase is a time in which many cuts occur in the personal and family environment. Some examples are:

  • The children are leaving the house (empty nest syndrome)
  • Parents become ill, in need of care or die
  • Crises in the partnership
  • Problems returning to work (change / development of the workplace)
  • "Age-related" difficulties in changing jobs

The fact that such factors have an effect on mental health is confirmed by the statistics on incapacity for work: illnesses affecting the psyche rank fourth in terms of the incapacity for work days (AU days). It has been proven that mental illnesses are more common in women (rank 3 of the AU days) than in men (rank 5).

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