Menopause is diagnosed when a menstrual period has been absent for 12 months.The menopause process takes several years beginning when the ovaries start to produce less estrogen. This stage is known as perimenopause and this is when symptoms first begin to appear.
Menopause symptoms include:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Bladder control symptoms
Not all women experience symptoms of menopause. If there are symptoms, they may either be mild or severe. These symptoms can last from the perimenopausal stage and last for several years after menopause. Menopause occurs naturally after the age of 40. The loss of estrogen production also increases the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Effective treatment for most menopause symptoms and the reduction of associated risks is available. Your doctor can help you decide which options are best for you.