Physical Symptoms of Menopause
Common Health Issues

Physical Symptoms of Menopause

The years during which a woman can conceive and bear children are limited to those during which she ovulates and menstruates—that is, the years of her regular monthly cycle.  At the end of this period, ovarian function declines and finally ceases, and menstruation ends.


This is the menopause. It begins when ovarian function begins to decline, and it ends when ovarian function has ceased—a period which may last anywhere from six months to three years.


Menopause can occur prematurely as a result of certain diseases and hormonal disorders or as a consequence of hysterectomy—the surgical removal of the uterus or womb. However, the average woman normally enters the menopause at the age of 48 years. In general, the younger she is when she begins to menstruate, the older will she be when her menopause begins.


Adjusting to Menopause

Menopause is a perfectly normal event, like menstruation, and for many women it is a liberating experience. No longer do they need to worry about unwanted pregnancies, or take precautions against them. 

If they are mothers, their children are likely to be grown up, or close to it, and well on the road to independence. This means that women have more time to pursue interests that the responsibilities of motherhood may have compelled them to drop.


If the woman has been working, she can go back to her interrupted job or career. She can enjoy her newfound freedom in any one of a number of rewarding ways.


Unfortunately, however, a number of superstitions have grown up around the very idea of menopause, and these have brought misery and suffering to women who might otherwise be enjoying this time of their lives.


It is not true that menopause brings mental instability, or that it lessens a woman’s attractiveness or her ability to give and receive pleasure in sexual relations. These are dangerous misconceptions with absolutely no medical support, and they should have no place in your mind.



Nor should you feel embarrassed or hesitant to discuss with your doctor or some other qualified health professional any other questions or fears you may have about menopause.


Physical Symptoms of Menopause

The physical symptoms that are associated with the menopause are caused by a slowing down in the production of estrogens. These female sex hormones are produced chiefly in the ovaries, but in far smaller amounts once menopause has begun.


The symptom this reduction most commonly produces is the series of vasomotor disturbances familiarly known as “hot flashes.” These are frequently the first sign that the menopause is occurring, and they disappear gradually after the menstrual periods have ceased.


Hot flashes may be limited to the face and neck or they may extend over the entire body. They may be accompanied by flushing, by excessive perspiration, or by a sensation of closeness of the air that make a woman feel uncomfortably warm on even a cold day.

Hot flashes may also bring on headaches or a coldness of the hands and feet. Some women experience these symptoms only a few times during the entire course of the menopause, while others experience them several times a day.


In addition, some women have other physical difficulties. They may be easily fatigued, or they may suffer from a nervous irritation of the bladder that leads them to urinate frequently. They may have backaches, or feel a kind of dizziness or giddiness (vertigo), occasionally associated with nausea or loss of appetite. Sometimes the blood pressure rises sharply.


It is important to consult your doctor during this period in your life, whether or not you have any of the symptoms described above. Your symptoms, if any, may require no treatment at all, or be helped by some form of medication. 

In the past, estrogen therapy was frequently used to relieve some of the more unpleasant symptoms of the menopause and to help women whose ovaries were removed before the menopause normally would have begun.


However, recent studies have shown an increased incidence of uterine cancer in women given estrogen therapy, and your doctor is likely to prescribe it only if the symptoms are severe and if there are no contraindications. If he does prescribe it, he will also insist on frequent gynecological checkups.



Rich Health Editorial Team

Health Research

Rich Health Editorial Team is made up of medical practitioners and experienced writers who provide information for dealing with health issues in a simple and easy-to-understand manner