Menopause , besides supposing the end of the reproductive period, represents a hormonal insufficiency that, in some occasions, is translated in a series of signs and disagreeable symptoms for the woman. In others, although it does not give symptoms, it will cause a series of alterations of the whole female organism, characterized by its slow and progressive deterioration as the years advance. The symptomatology of menopause is presented in staggered form.
In the short term and during the early years, sometimes even before menopause, we find neurovegetative symptoms and psychological symptoms:- Neurovegetative symptoms: hot flashes, sweating, palpitations, paresis, insomnia, vertigo, headache ...- Psychological symptoms: irritability, nervousness, lability, depressed mood, fatigue, etc.
In the medium term (between three and five years of amenorrhea), the patient may suffer alterations of the skin and mucous membranes, such as urogenital atrophy and urinary disorders.
In the long term, there are the most serious effects, but in turn, those that can best be prevented, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Do all women have the same symptoms with menopause? What are they and what effects can they have on the organism?
Not all women have the same symptoms and, in the case that they present them all, they would not have the same intensity. The great individual diversity in the presentation of the symptoms makes the object of the consultations to the specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics is different for each woman.
Symptoms occur in the short or medium term, and not all women have them. However, these alterations may appear in some women even months or years before the cessation of the rules and, in general, they manifest between the first two and five years of the postmenopausal period.
In the medium term, the fall in estrogen levels leads to a decrease in the trophism of the organs that depend on these hormones, especially affecting the vagina and also some structures of the urinary system, causing arthrophy of skin, mucous membranes and collagen decrease.
The long-term consequences are more serious but, at the same time, if preventive measures are taken, they can be avoided or diminished. It is known that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in postmenopausal women in industrialized countries. In reproductive age, this risk is lower.
The other major consequence is osteoporosis , probably the most frequent metabolic disorder of the bones. By osteoporosis is meant the decrease of bone mass and deterioration of its microarchitecture, increasing bone fragility. Loss of bone mass at any age is the result of two variables: the amount of bone obtained during growth and the rate of bone loss. The factors that influence bone mass are genetic, nutritional, hormonal, paracrine and mechanical, thus associating risk factors for osteoporosis with low bone mass.
Of all the risk factors, the most important and decisive in the pathogenesis of postmenopausal osteoporosis corresponds to estrogens.
Hot flashes during menopause
Suffocations are the most characteristic symptom of menopause. It manifests as waves of heat that run through the body from the chest, rising to the head, causing flushing of the neck, neck and face. In addition, it is usually accompanied by sweating, which may be more or less profuse and, sometimes, is also accompanied by palpitations and a sense of distress.
During a suffocation there is: peripheral vasodilatation, increased skin temperature, increased heart rate (tachycardia) and, if they occur at night, cause sleep disturbances. Blood pressure does not change.
Stress, alcohol and heat can trigger and / or increase suffocation. The frequency and intensity varies from one woman to another, as well as its duration, from two to three minutes on average.
Treatment of symptoms and hot flashes of menopause
To avoid late consequences, general measures are the most important. These measures should be initiated as early as possible, already in childhood and adolescence. They include:- Correct cholesterol-lowering diet : cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 milligrams daily. It should also be a diet with little salt, to avoid blood pressure.- Hygiene standards : sunbathing for at least a quarter of an hour and suppressing products such as tobacco and toxic.- Exercise : The effect of gravity on bone and muscle forces help maintain a positive balance between bone formation and destruction.- Avoid falling : leaning on a cane in case you feel insecure.
In addition, to treat suffocations, phytotherapy or hormonal treatment may be used, depending on the intensity of the picture, the patient's desire and whether there is contraindication in any of them.