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Menopause - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Menopause - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Menopause is not a disease or a condition, but a normal part of life when a woman ceases to menstruate and is no longer fertile. Read below to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sameer Kumar

Published At March 13, 2019
Reviewed AtAugust 4, 2023


Menopause is not a disease or a condition, but a normal part of life when a woman ceases to menstruate and is no longer fertile. Menopausal symptoms occur a few months to years before and after the last period. The average age of menopause is between 49 and 52 years. Although it is a natural process, it causes major changes and triggers a lot of symptoms.

A woman is said to have reached menopause when she does not have any vaginal bleeding for a year. For women who have had surgery to remove the uterus, menopause is said to occur after the surgery or when the levels of hormones produced by the ovaries fall. For most women, specific treatment is not needed for the symptoms seen before menopause, which is caused due to a reduction in the estrogen levels.

What Results in Menopause?

A finite number of eggs are stored in the ovaries when a woman is born. The ovaries also control ovulation and menstruation by producing hormones like estrogen and progesterone. During ovulation every month, the ovaries release one or more eggs for fertilization and formation of an embryo. If no fertilization takes place, the uterus lining, that gets ready to receive an embryo, sheds and is called menstruation. When the ovaries no longer have eggs to release every month, menstruation stops and it results in menopause.

What Are the Stages of Menopause?

Natural menopause is a gradual process, which has the following three stages:

  • Perimenopause - This stage starts years before menopause. Here, the ovaries make less estrogen gradually, which lessens quickly in the last couple of years before the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Women usually have premenopausal symptoms in the last couple of years of this stage.
  • Menopause - Here, the ovaries stop producing eggs and the woman would have had her last period a year back.
  • Postmenopause - After menopause, all the premenopausal and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, flushing, and mood swings tend to ease if not disappear. But in this stage, due to less estrogen, health risk related to the low estrogen rises.

What Are the Causes of Premature Menopause?

Menopause after 40 years of age is considered normal, but if it occurs before 40 years, no matter what the cause, it is known as premature menopause. The conditions that can cause premature menopause are:

  • Genes.
  • Down’s syndrome.
  • Turner’s syndrome.
  • Addison’s disease.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Premature ovarian failure.
  • Surgical removal of both ovaries with the uterus.
  • Ovarian damage due to cancer.
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy to the pelvic area.

What Are the Symptoms Seen During Menopause?

The intensity of menopausal symptoms is different for every woman. The symptoms are usually severe when it occurs over a short period of time or suddenly.

Early symptoms:

  • Less frequent menstruation.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Flushing.
  • Night sweats.

Other symptoms:

  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Weight gain.
  • Memory problems.
  • Reduced libido.
  • Dry skin.
  • Painful and stiff joints.
  • Hair thinning.
  • Increased hair growth in the face, neck, chest, and back.
  • Headaches.
  • Palpitations.
  • Reduced bone mass.
  • Breast shrinkage.

What Are the Complications of Menopause?


Some of the complications seen after menopause are:

  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Mood swings.
  • Vulvovaginal atrophy.
  • Cataracts.
  • Periodontal diseases.
  • Slow metabolism.

How Is Menopause Diagnosed?

If you are 45 years old or younger and experiencing menopausal symptoms, it is best you consult a gynecologist. The doctor should be able to diagnose your condition with the presenting signs and symptoms. In addition, he or she may also tell you to take the following tests:

  • Check the Levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) - Elevated levels of FSH in the blood of equal to or more than 30 mIU/mL along with the absence of menstruation for a year is used to diagnose menopause.
  • PicoAMH ELISA Diagnostic Test - This is a new test that is FDA approved, and is used to check if the woman is close to or already entered menopause. It works by measuring the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in the blood.

How to Treat Menopause?

As already mentioned, menopause is not a disease, so there is no treatment for menopause. But in cases of severe premenopausal and menopausal symptoms that affect the quality of life, then the following treatments are indicated.


These medications are available only on prescription, and OTC (over-the-counter) use is not recommended.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) - The symptoms can be controlled by taking estrogen and progestin supplements.
  • Unwanted Hair Growth - Eflornithine hydrochloride cream.
  • Depression, Anxiety, and Hot Flashes - Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Paroxetine.
  • Vaginal Dryness - Vaginal moisturizers or lubricants and Ospemifene.
  • Recurrent UTIs - Antibiotics.
  • Insomnia - Sedatives.
  • Osteoporosis - Denosumab, Teriparatide, and Calcitonin, in the recommended dosage.

Home Remedies:

  • Hot flashes can be managed by wearing loose clothes at night, keeping the bedroom cool, and avoid using thick blankets.
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes every day.
  • Reduce calorie intake by 400 to 600 calories.
  • Talk to your family members, friends, or a medical professional if you are feeling depressed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, etc.
  • Clean and moisturize your skin properly to avoid dryness.
  • Quit or limit smoking and consuming alcohol.
  • Diet rich in vitamins and minerals will improve menopausal symptoms.
  • Follow sleep hygiene to prevent sleep problems.


If one is experiencing menopausal symptoms, which is not getting better with home remedies, it is best to consult a gynecologist. With the help of online healthcare platforms, one can consult professionally trained and experienced doctors through phone or video consultation, or by posting a query.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Happens During Menopause?

Menopause is known to be the cessation of menstruation of a woman. It occurs approximately between the age of 50-55. During menopause, the woman’s level of reproductive hormone reduces, namely estrogen and progesterone. Once the woman reaches menopause, she is no longer breeding.


What Age Does the Menopause Start?

Menopause doesn’t occur at the same age in different women. A few women can occur as early as in their forties, and in few women, it can occur in their mid-fifties. The average menopausal age is 51. Nowadays, many women tend to have menopause at the age of 45 years.


What Are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause?

Menopause can be noted by the following symptoms. They are 34 in number and are as follows:
- Hot flushes.
- Night sweats.
- Irregular periods.
- Mood swings.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Decreased libido.
- Headache.
- Breast soreness.
- Burning mouth.
- Joint pain.
- Digestive problems.
- Electric shock.
- Muscle tension.
- Gum problems.
- Tingling extremities.
- Itchy skin.
- Fatigue.
- Anxiety.
- Disrupted sleep.
- Hair loss.
- Memory lapses.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Weight gain.
- Dizzy spells.
- Bloating.
- Stress incontinence.
- Brittle nails.
- Allergies.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Body Odour.
- Irritability.
- Depression.
- Panic disorder.
- Osteoporosis.


How Long Does Menopause Last For?

There is an end to the symptoms caused by menopause like the hot flushes, bloating, night sweats, etc., over some time around five years. But menopause is a lifetime condition, so once the woman reaches her menopause, she will never be able to reproduce again.


What Are the Worst Menopause Symptoms?

The worst menopause symptoms experienced during menopause as explained by most women are:
- Difficulty in sleeping.
- Hot flushes.
- Forgetfulness.
- Mood swings.
- Irritability.
- Night sweats.
If the symptoms are causing too much discomfort to you, you should seek a doctor’s help.


What Is the Average Age a Woman Stops Menstruating?

The average age at which most women stop menstruating is 51. By this age, women stop menstruating and start to experience menopausal symptoms. The most common earliest symptoms of menopause are hot flush and irregular periods.


What Are the Stages of Menopause?

There are three stages in menopause. The first would be the perimenopausal stage, which starts before the actual menopause. It presents with irregular periods and hot flush. It would be followed by the next stage, which is known as the Menopausal stage. At this stage, the woman does not have her menstruation continuously for 12 months. It is then followed by the postmenopausal period, which will last about 24 to 36 months after the last period. At this period of time, the menopausal symptoms of the women will start to subside.


How Do You Know If Menopause Is Starting?

Some common signs that indicate that the menopause is starting are
- Irregular periods.
- Hot flushes.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Mood swings.


What Is So Bad About Menopause?

The women’s hormones that have been produced in the ovaries during her reproductive years protect the woman from certain health problems. During menopause, these hormones subside so that the woman is at risk of certain health conditions like cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, etc. Thus, this is the future problem that will be caused by menopause.


How Can I Lose My Menopause Belly?

To lose your menopause belly, you have to follow healthy eating habits. Food has to be taken in small meals. Avoidance of junk foods is a must. Adequate sleep duration of about 7 to 8 hours in the night should be maintained. Stress has to be maintained at low levels since stress can also lead to weight gain in menopausal women.


Do You Feel Better After Menopause?

The process of menopause can be stressful and exhausting. However, once the menopausal symptoms start to subside the women will start feeling better with no mood swings, hot flushes, etc.,


Does Menopause Make You Feel Crazy?

Menopause is a well-known factor that causes mood swings in women. The hormonal changes the woman undergoes is the primary reason for her mood swings. However, the other symptoms that are caused by menopause cause irritability and tend to affect the normal routine of a woman. Thus. Menopause can make you feel crazy.


Do You Lose Weight After Menopause?

Menopause usually accounts for weight gain. Studies have identified that weight gain has been one of the common complaints in postmenopausal women. Losing weight after menopause is possible only if the woman is ready to accept lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes include healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and adequate sleeping schedule. Intake of weight loss medicines without proper doctor advice is not recommended.


What Triggers Menopause?

Menopause is triggered by a lack of functioning eggs in the ovaries. It is then followed by the depletion of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone in the body. All the above-said factors induce menstruation. Menstruation starts with symptoms like irregular periods and hot flashes predominantly.


Can You Speed up Menopause?

Menopause can be influenced by different factors. They are the mother’s age at menopause, the age at menarche, gestational age, use of oral contraceptives, irregular menstrual cycle, number of pregnancies, body mass index, use of tobacco and alcohol, physical activity, unilateral oophorectomy, serum lead levels, consumption of polyunsaturated fat, etc., menopause cannot be delayed but can speed up by modification in the above-said factors. Hysterectomy, due to various reasons, is one way to speed up menopause.


Can Menopause Ruin Your Life?

Menopause cannot ruin your life unless you allow it to. Proper awareness about the symptoms, pros, and cons of menopause to all women can make it easier for women to tackle the menopausal period. Seeking help from gynecologists and psychologists when a woman undergoes excruciating symptoms can ease the menopausal period.


When Do Women Go Through Menopause?

Women go through menopause when the functioning eggs in their ovaries deplete progressively. As the number of eggs reduces, female sex hormones are also said to reduce. It starts with premenopausal symptoms. When the woman completely stopped menstruating for at least 12 months, she is supposed to have entered the menopausal period.


How to Lose Weight During Menopause?

A healthy lifestyle is a right way to lose weight during menopause. The normal physiology of menopause causes weight gain in women. However, if a woman works persistently in her healthy eating, sleep, and exercise routine, she can lose weight during menopause. You should ask your doctor to suggest a few exercises.


What Is the Best Supplement for Menopause?

Hormonal replacement therapy is available in many countries to treat menopause. It has its own risk and benefits. Also, it depends on the woman’s choice to choose the benefits of therapy over the risks. Calcium supplementation is essential for menopausal women to prevent osteoporosis, and it does not have any side effects. Proper consultation with a doctor is necessary to start any supplementation during menopause.


What Causes Weight Gain During Menopause?

The hormone estrogen is essential in women to maintain proper lipid metabolism. Throughout the reproductive years of a woman, estrogen tries to prevent excess weight gain in the woman. During menopause, there is depletion in estrogen in the woman’s body. This hormonal change accounts for weight gain in menopause.


When Does Menopause Happen?

Menopause happens at an average age of 51 in every woman. It is caused due to the depletion in the number of eggs in the ovary and depletion of hormones in the woman’s body. You should consult your doctor to discuss your queries and doubts. You can get help from our online consultation platform-icliniq.com.
Dr. Sameer Kumar
Dr. Sameer Kumar

Obstetrics and Gynecology


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