Menopause is a stage in the life of a woman when she stops having her monthly period. This usually marks the end of the woman’s reproductive years and occurs in the late forties to early fifties.
The process of menopause is gradual and begins with perimenopause which can begin between eight to before menopause. During perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates.
Postmenopause on the other hand refers to the years after menopause, it is the stage that follows menopause and usually starts between and months after a women’s last period. However the major difference between menopause and post menopause is that in post menopause there is a reduction in symptoms like hot flashes which are not as powerful and are also less frequent.
During post menopause there is also a complete ceasing of a woman’s menstrual periods. However women at this stage have a lower level of estrogen and are therefore at an increased risk for a number of health conditions like osteoporosis as well as heart disease. This is not usually the case in menopause.
Menopause is also defined as the single moment when a woman has not had any menstruation for months, after which point the woman then becomes postmenopausal.
The average age of postmenopause is late forties to early sixties. Whereas the age in menopause is mid-40’s.
Causes and Symptoms
Postmenopause is caused by the same external factors and hormonal changes which cause menopause including other internal factors like fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen hormones. The external factors include triggers like surgery or illness.
The symptoms of postmenopause include urethra infection, bladder infection, stress incontinence which causes urine to leak in small or large amounts during laughing, coughing and sneezing, high blood pressure, osteoporosis which causes fractures, foot and leg cramps and bone pain.
On the other hand, the symptoms of menopause are hot flashes where there is a sudden sensation of heat which spreads all over the body, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, hair loss, memory lapses, and irregular periods and are due fluctuations in hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. There may also be minor heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats which usually last for a short time period and is not dangerous or life threatening.
During menopause, hormone levels begin to change and this can cause a variety of symptoms. Some women have very minor menopausal symptoms while others have a more difficult time and have more pronounced symptoms.
Common signs of menopause also include changes in the period and bleeding cycle by becoming irregular with more or less bleeding. The blood flow experienced during periods varies during the menopause transition unlike in post menopause where bleeding is rare.
Types of Treatment for Menopause
The following are the three types treatment for menopause:
1. Lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and caffeine, sleeping the required seven hours, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and exercising regularly.
2. Alternative medicine which involves different therapies like herbal supplements which include hormone-regulating supplements and phytoestrogenic supplements, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback or aromatherapy.
3. Medical interventions like hormone replacement therapy to combat hormonal imbalance.
Types of Treatment for Postmenopause
The treatment for postmenopause symptoms include three levels depending on the intensity:
1. Lifestyle changes like the reduction of stress, eating a postmenopause friendly diet and frequent exercising.
2. Acupuncture, hypnosis as well as herbal remedies.
3. Prescription medication which involves hormone replacement therapy.