The menopause is a term that refers to the disappearance of menstruation. “But until there is no absence of a period for a continuous period of one year, it is not determined that there is menopause,” says Dr. Eloy Muñoz , from the gynecology service at Hospital Doce de Octubre .
Typically, it occurs between the ages of 51 and 52 , “what happens is that it is not an abrupt process , but the woman, generally, begins to feel a series of symptoms that may begin to occur during the two to five years before the arrival of menopause ».
The first symptom is the alteration in menstruation : delays, more abundant or smaller rules, more or less thick flow … Each woman is affected differently. “It is important that when this happens, the woman goes to her gynecologist to rule out that behind this variation in her periods some other pathology is hidden .”
Another of the most common symptoms is the arrival of hot flashes . “Without apparent cause and suddenly a sensation of heat appears in the chest area and rises towards the face – in some women reddening of the skin also occurs – all this accompanied by sweating,” adds Dr. Eloy Muñoz. This sensation lasts a few minutes and, later, chills appear due to the evaporation of sweat.
In general, and according to the expert from the Hospital Doce de Octubre, it is a bearable process, “but when the woman feels very affected by the symptoms, she can be prescribed hormonal treatment or with contraceptive pills or even natural methods, like eating soy or evening primrose ».
Other symptoms that may occur are to lteraciones in sleep, nervousness or joint pains. Not so frequent are the symptoms of vaginal dryness that affects some women, causing more infections due to the alteration of the vaginal flora and even pain when having sex.
Psychologically, for some women, the arrival of menopause is received with great relief, since it means that they no longer need to take contraceptive measures to have sex or because, at last, menstrual pain has ended. However, for others, menopause marks the end of the fertility stage and the arrival of further aging. Depending on the point of view of each woman, it will affect her mood to a greater or lesser extent.
Other changes that can affect women, not all, and late, when menopause has already arrived, are the widening of the hips, palpitations, increased facial hair, frequent urination or urinary incontinence, among the most common.