Menopause is a very important milestone in every woman's life, and it's a gradual progressive change, not a sudden overnight one.
Menopause, also known as the climacteric, is the time in most women's lives when menstrual periods stop permanently, and they are no longer able to bear children. Menopause typically occurs between 49 and 52 years of age but many women first start experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms in their 40s.
In the years before menopause, a woman's periods typically become irregular, which means that periods may be longer or shorter in duration or be lighter or heavier in the amount of flow. During this time, women often experience hot flashes; these typically last from 30 seconds to ten minutes and may be associated with shivering, sweating, and reddening of the skin. Hot flashes often stop occurring after a year or two.
Other symptoms may include
The severity of symptoms varies between women
Menopause can be induced or occur naturally. Induced menopause occurs as a result of medical treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, oophorectomy, or complications of tubal ligation, hysterectomy, unilateral or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy or leuprorelin usage.
Menopause typically occurs between 49 and 52 years of age. The majority of women have their last period between the ages of 48 and 55. The average age of the last period in the United States is 51 years, in the United Kingdom is 52 years, in Ireland is 50 years and in Australia is 51 years. In India and the Philippines, the median age of natural menopause is considerably earlier, at 44 years. The menopausal transition or perimenopause leading up to menopause usually lasts 7 years (sometimes as long as 14 years).
In rare cases, a woman's ovaries stop working at a very early age, ranging anywhere from the age of puberty to age 40. This is known as premature ovarian failure and affects 1 to 2% of women by age 40.
Undiagnosed and untreated coeliac disease is a risk factor for early menopause. Coeliac disease can present with several non-gastrointestinal symptoms, in the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms, and most cases escape timely recognition and go undiagnosed, leading to a risk of long-term complications. A strict gluten-free diet reduces the risk. Women with early diagnosis and treatment of coeliac disease present a normal duration of fertile life span.
Women who have undergone hysterectomy with ovary conservation go through menopause on average 3.7 years earlier than the expected age. Other factors that can promote an earlier onset of menopause (usually 1 to 3 years early) are smoking cigarettes or being extremely thin.
Premature ovarian failure
Premature ovarian failure (POF) is the cessation of the ovarian function before the age of 40 years. It is diagnosed or confirmed by high blood levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) on at least three occasions at least four weeks apart.
Known causes of premature ovarian failure include autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, diabetes mellitus, chemotherapy, being a carrier of the fragile X syndrome gene, and radiotherapy. However, in about 50–80% of spontaneous cases of premature ovarian failure, the cause is unknown, i.e., it is generally idiopathic.
Women who have a functional disorder affecting the reproductive system (e.g., endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer of the reproductive organs) can go into menopause at a younger age than the normal timeframe. The functional disorders often significantly speed up the menopausal process.
An early menopause can be related to cigarette smoking, higher body mass index, racial and ethnic factors, illnesses, and the surgical removal of the ovaries, with or without the removal of the uterus.
Rates of premature menopause have been found to be significantly higher in fraternal and identical twins; approximately 5% of twins reach menopause before the age of 40. The reasons for this are not completely understood. Transplants of ovarian tissue between identical twins have been successful in restoring fertility.
Menopause can be surgically induced by bilateral oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), which is often, but not always, done in conjunction with removal of the Fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy) and uterus (hysterectomy). Cessation of menses as a result of removal of the ovaries is called "surgical menopause".
Surgical treatments, such as the removal of ovaries, might cause periods to stop altogether. The sudden and complete drop in hormone levels usually produces extreme withdrawal symptoms such as hot flashes, etc. The symptoms of early menopause may be more severe.
Removal of the uterus without removal of the ovaries does not directly cause menopause, although pelvic surgery of this type can often precipitate a somewhat earlier menopause, perhaps because of a compromised blood supply to the ovaries.. The time between surgery and possible early menopause is due to the fact that ovaries are still producing hormones.
Exercise can play a very important role in regulating and managing menopause for short, medium and long term (yes, it's beneficial at all times).
That's why starting and sticking to a regular fitness regime can help with
Both regular and clinical Pilates will help with menopause symptoms. It helps with
Our senior physiotherapists (who may be trained in Clinical Pilates) and/or senior Pilates instructors will assess you first to determine your current health, pick up any undiagnosed orthopedic injuries or risk before creating a customized health and fitness exercise plan for you.
These exercises may help in