Sometimes viewed as an end to youth and one's childbearing years, menopause can also be seen as "the change" that liberates many women from the monthly discomfort of the menstrual cycle.
As a major life transition, however, menopause presents its own challenges in the form of hormonal, physical and emotional changes that are all part of a natural biological process.
Beginning in some women as early as the 30's or 40's, symptoms of menopause most commonly appear by age 50 or 60, when a drop in estrogen levels in women cause the menstrual cycle to become erratic and unpredictable and afterwards to cease entirely.
In varying degrees, most women experience related symptoms such as weight gain, and occasional rises in body temperature appearing as "hot flashes" or night sweats. Vaginal and urinary changes are also common with decreased estrogen levels causing vaginal dryness which can result in uncomfortable intercourse, urinary incontinence, or infection.
In addition, hormonal fluctuation often bring about emotional changes most often seen in an inability to concentrate, irritability and sleeplessness, which may also lead to occasional bouts of depression.
Menopause treatment options, risks and benefits
As menopause is a natural process, medical treatment is usually not necessary. In cases of severe menopause symptoms, the condition can be treated with either hormone therapy, (HT or HRT - hormone replacement therapy); in conjunction with topical creams for vaginal dryness, herbal and alternative therapies for menopause; or prescription anti-depressants to lessen mood swings.
Adding to the controversy, soy supplements for menopausal systems have been touted as an alternative hormonal replacement therapy, but some clinical studies have refuted soy's claimed benefits in regulating estrogen levels naturally.
Around the Web, learn more about menopause from expert sites offering news on related studies and the latest research on the topic, along with more facts and information on treatments in the form of medications, herbal supplements, helpful exercise regimens, and dietary guidelines to help cope with the symptoms of menopause ....
More about menopause around the Web:
Menopause and Menopause Treatments - Read an extensive FAQ with basic overview, information on premature menopause, post menopause, related symptoms & treatments,
details on hormonal therapy & side effects, natural remedies including soy and other sources of phytoestrogens.
Menopause Matters - Here's the online edition of the UK print magazine featuring news, FAQ and information on causes, symptoms & treatment with discussions on hormone replacement and testosterone therapy, alternative & herbal treatments, related glossary, online forum.