As we know, the most striking symptom indicating the change of life is the sudden or gradual cessation of the menses at a suitably advanced age. As regards the manner of this cessation of the menses, the most varied types (types of menopause) have been observed.
Sign of menopause
In some cases where menstruation ceases gradually, this occurs in such a manner that the menstrual flow recurring about every four weeks becvulvaomes less and less intense; and finally ceases altogether; while in other cases not only are the duration and intensity of the menstrual flow reduced, but the interval also becomes longer and longer, until the menses finally cease and the menopause occurs.
It may even happen that the menses apparently stop completely for a longer or shorter period, and then recur at regular intervals, and finally cease altogether.
However, experience has proved in connection with the after type of case that the resumption of menstruation is often due to a pathological process, so that a thorough examination and careful observation of the patient.
Symptoms of fake pregnancy
Sometimes there is a sudden and final cessation of the menstrual flow, mostly accompanied by more or less serious general complaints. The woman concerned may interpret the absence of the menses, as a sign of pregnancy, and this may be accompanied by all the symptoms of “fake pregnancy.”
A medical examination in such cases will immediately reveal the truth. Sudden and final cessation of the menses may often be observed in cases of premature climacteric. However, although the cessation of the menses is the most obvious symptom, it is not the only one that appears during the period of the change.
There are, in addition, changes in the genital of the woman, consisting in processes of retrogression due to the stoppage of ovarian activity, the ultimate cause of which is still unknown. In this connection it should be noted that although the shrinkage, referred to above, commences with the stoppage of ovarian activity, it only concludes very late in life, steadily increasing from this starting point.
Strictly speaking, menopause is your final menstrual period. It is an event you can determine only in retrospect. Although most people use the term menopause to identify the years surrounding this event, what we commonly refer to as menopause actually has several phases.
- Premenopause occurs before menopause and is the time during which brain hormones begin to increase and ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to decrease. Menstrual periods may begin to become irregular. Most women become premenopausal after age forty.
- Perimenopause is the term used to identify the approximately two years before and after your final period, and is the time when most of the physical signs of menopause occur, such as hot flashes and irregular periods. In some women, perimenopause lasts longer. Menopause is your final menstrual flow; this can only be identified with certainty one year after the fact. For example, average age of menopause in the United States is around fifty.
- Postmenopause, or the climacteric, refers to the years after your last menstrual period. Your body continues to undergo hormone-related changes, but these tend to be more gradual and subtle. Although it is impossible to predict when you will experience menopause, there are some guidelines. You’ll probably undergo menopause around the age your mother did, unless you’ve smoked quite a bit, which hastens menopause.
If a woman had hysterectomy, it can hasten menopause or even immediately stopped menstruation too, and so can giving birth to twins. Being overweight, on the other hand, helps delay it.
Menopause and genital change
- Menopause Vulva
The layer of fat in the region of the mons Veneris and in the large lips of the vulva may start to shrink. The vulva may become smaller and flabbier, the small lips become withered and change into thin folds. The fatty glands, formerly present in more than adequate amounts, may disappear almost completely, so that there are only remnants of them left.
- Menopause Vagina
The vagina may gradually lose its internal folds and become smooth. Its membrane looks dry. It is thinner and less muscular than before. In the course of the further process the vaginal tube gradually shrinks, becomes narrower, shorter, and less elastic.
- Menopause Uterus
The uterus, at the beginning of the change of life, frequently contains an increased supply of blood, so that this organ increases in volume. Soon, however, the uterus also shrinks, and its muscles gradually atrophy as a result of slow degeneration at certain points. The uterus consequently becomes considerably smaller, thinner and narrower, and acquires a flat appearance. The shrinkage of the oviducts is characterized by the fact that the tubes become thinner and shorter, their cross section gradually decreasing.The principal change in the ovaries of a woman during the menopause consists in the fact that they cease to produce follicles. The connective tissue predominates and is strikingly coarse. Further, there are certain changes in the blood vessels, and from the blood vessels this degeneration progresses to the tissue, which assumes a peculiar glassy appearance.
- Menopause Ovaries
The ovaries become smaller and coarser and are frequently flattened. Their surfaces become pitted, so that they sometimes resemble the stone of a peach. The changes in the genital organs are accompanied by changes in the appearance of the woman concerned, which start during her menopause and almost imperceptibly develop into those changes which are commonly known as senility. In a few cases the climacteric coincides with incipient senility, but in the majority of women at this age there is a series of characteristics that have nothing in common with senility. As they vary according to the individual and are frequently connected with constitutional factors, which are important.
- Menopause Weight Gain
The general changes in these women during menopause are very slight, and the “crisis” passes over them almost unnoticed. The fat deposits all over the body increase, but without disturbing the shape of any part, states that all the soft curves and which men find so attractive in women.
- Menopause Breasts, Menopause Abdomen, Menopause Hips, Menopause buttocks
Even the face remains smooth and even, resembling during this period that of a child. But most parts of the body literally slide down, and that, in particular, the cheeks, throat, breasts, abdomen, hips, and buttocks become less elastic and flabby, which leads to the sagging not only of the abdomen, but also of the chest.
- Menopause Skin
During menopause, this congenital flabbiness becomes intensified. The tension and elasticity of the skin is reduced, so that it is incapable of bearing the peculiar fat deposits collected under the skin. The form of the fat that forms during the climacteric is also characteristic. It appears in the form of lumps of fat, and differs very considerably from the continuous layers of fat of previous years. These accumulations of fats usually occur on the cheeks and under the chin, the temples usually remaining free.The result is the characteristic shape of the face, with pendent fat cheeks and a lump of fat under the chin, covered with atrophied, wrinkled skin. Frequently there is also an accumulation of fat on the neck, but the skin usually remains more supple than on other parts. Similarly, there are accumulations of fat above the collar-bones, which persist even if the rest of the body is lean to the point of emaciation.
- Menopause Arms
On the arms, however, the roundness of previous years usually disappears, the skin becoming flabby and pendent, and the muscles soft. The breasts also become considerably fatter and pendent, the areola diminishes and loses its original shape. The accumulation of fat in the buttocks and hips, accompanied by loss of suppleness in the skin, causes these groups of muscles to move sideways and downward, thus distorting the form of the feminine body.
- Menopause causes other changes
Women, with certain masculine characteristics even during the period of sexual maturity, during the period of the change they develop definitely virile characteristics which give them their peculiar impress. They are generally tall, lean, big-boned women, who even during the menopause transition incline to leanness rather than to the accumulation of fat. The face assumes a distinctly masculine character, the features becoming sharper and more distinct, and an abnormal growth of facial hair may also appear, or, alternatively, a darkening of the existing growth.
- Other menopause symptoms are
The coarsening of the voice (in some cases), due to changes in the larynx, and, in the majority of cases, an almost complete disappearance of the mammary glands.
The nipple on the other hand, becomes more prominent, and the areola becomes darker and, sometimes, studded with hair. The growth of hair over the rest of the body, including the sexual organs and the legs, becomes intensified, and dirty-brown spots may appear on the back and elsewhere.
Female menopause, is it nature’s mistake?
The prevalent medical view holds that nature didn’t mean for us to live long after our reproductive days are over. Throughout much of history, women died before menopause because of disease, childbirth, infections, and a slew of other medical problems that Western medical care can now cure or prevent.
As early as 1900, American and European women lived to an average of only forty-five. Others say menopause and the climacteric are nature’s way of being smart. Perhaps menopause evolved in humans because by giving us a period of life when we could no longer reproduce, it free us from late-born children or distractions of additional pregnancies or more of our own young ones. It allowed us to accumulate more wisdom and gave us time to transmit cultural knowledge to the next generation.
Healthy menopausal women often have plenty of hormones for everything but childbearing. Nature continues to provide us with estrogen, only at lower levels. After our ovaries no longer produce significant amounts of estrogen, the adrenal glands, when healthy, take over. They produce hormones, such as androstenedione, which are converted into estrogen by fat cells and in other parts of your body such as muscle, liver, kidney, brain. The estrogen produced by extra fat cells may explain why many women who weigh more are reported to have an easier time adjusting to menopause.