What is menopause? The word “menopause” literally means “cessation of the monthly cycle.” It’s derived from the Greek words “meno” (month) and “pause” (cessation). Brought about by declining sex hormones, you’ve officially reached menopause after your last monthly cycle ends.
Men and women both go through hormone declines. As noted, in women this is called menopause. In men, it’s called andropause. Men and women each have their own recognizable symptoms, and both are easily treatable and reversible.
The problem with treating these conditions lies in the bungling manner in which mainstream medicine handles the therapies, and its failure to recognize safe and completely natural treatments. This has resulted in massive confusion in the media - resulting in skepticism by the general public of any treatment method - whether mainstream or natural.
A woman’s ovaries, the key to menopause, produce several sex hormones: Estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. One might say the ovaries are the key to everything – creating life and making hormones that make sure the life-creation process is intact.
Hormones control every physiologic process within your body. We cannot function without them. When hormones decline – so do our bodies. In the natural course of human life, hormone production of all types peaks at the age of 25 in both men and women.
After that, the decline is about 1% – 3% annually. By the time you reach 40, hormone production has already fallen off 15% - 45%. Although the average age of menopause (the final monthly cycle) is age 51, it takes decades of declining hormone production to get there.
This transition of normal monthly cycles to complete cessation of cycles is called peri-menopause.
For most women, early symptoms of peri-menopause start to appear in the late 30’s. However, it is in the 40 – 50 age group where significant symptoms take place. It’s also probably why you are reading this page right now.
Over time, it’s the estrogen deficiency which produces the most significant symptoms we normally associate with menopause.
Sudden, rapid removal of the ovaries by surgery can cause immediate menopause. This surgical removal of the ovaries is called an “oopherectomy.” Severe menopausal symptoms appear virtually immediately. Within 24 hours afterwards, the woman is facing her first major bouts of hot flashes and night sweats.
At one time, oopherectomies used to be commonly performed in conjunction with hysterectomies. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.
A hysterectomy, removal of the uterus only, will not by itself cause surgical menopause. But because the ovarian artery is frequently affected by this procedure, women often experience partial damage to their ovaries, thus accelerating ovarian decline.
The most dramatic symptoms associated with menopause are the trio of hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. All three of these symptoms are caused by estrogen deficiency. There are many more symptoms than these three, but these are the ones for which most women seek relief.
Hot flashes and night sweats can be major problems, extensively interfering with a woman’s life and the lives of those around her. She is intensely uncomfortable, and her responses to these distresses affect her loved ones as well. These symptoms can persist for years.
Vaginal dryness is not as dramatic, but aside from being intensely uncomfortable it can significantly affect her intimate life and enjoyment of sex as well.
If the symptoms of your menopause become more than just an annoyance, we highly suggest you consult with your primary care physician. He or she can suggest alternatives to just “suffering” through this transitional time in your life.