Description: The term “menopause” comes from two Greek words that mean “month” and “to end.” It translates as “the end of the monthlies.” The medical definition of menopause is the absence of menstruation for 12 months.
Persons most commonly affected: Between woman’s late thirties and her late 50s.
Organ or part of body involved: Female Reproductive System
Symptoms and indications: Cessation of periods, hot flushes (sudden intense waves of heat and sweating), irritability, muscle pain, changes in sexual desire, night sweats, headaches, frequent urination, early wakening, vaginal dryness, mood changes, insomnia, depression, anxiety, fatigue, conditions commonly associated with PMS, weight gain and memory problems and difficulty in concentrating.
Causes and risk factors: It is believed that menopause is triggered when the ovaries stop responding to the sex hormones that are secreted by the pituitary gland to control normal functioning of the ovaries. The subsequent decline in the production of the female hormone estrogen by the ovaries sets off the bodily changes.
Prevention: Regular exercise may decrease depression and irritability. Good muscle tone can also improve energy level and decrease aches and pains. Some forms of exercise may also help decrease bone loss. A diet high in complex carbohydrates, including multiple small meals may reduce irritability and improve one’s feeling of well-being. Reduce intake of caffeine, alcohol, hot beverages and spicy foods. Avoid meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy products promote hot flushes. Do not smoke. Smoking is linked to premature menopause, as well as to heart disease.