Menopause and the underlying medical conditions associated with it


Menopause is the absence of menstrual periods for twelve months. It is a time when the function of the ovaries ceases. During menopause, estrogen levels fall which causes more than just physical changes. There are a number of conditions that are a symptom or risk factor caused by being menopausal.

Osteoporosis refers to bone loss. It is a decrease in bone density over time usually not detectable except after minor accidents cause sever breaking of bones. It has no symptoms. Menopause does not cause bone loss. However, being menopausal is a risk factor for osteoporosis as lack of estrogen, a direct result of menopause, causes a decrease in bone density. Bone mass reduces from the age of thirty on, until death. It occurs more rapidly in women because of the low estrogen levels. Women in and past menopause are at risk of bone mass reduction.

osteoporosis causes benidng of the spine and has been linked to menopause due to absence of the hormone estrogen
osteoporosis causes bending of the spine and has been linked to menopause due to absence of the hormone estrogen

It is therefore paramount that we “serve up bone strength” as was the theme on last year’s World Osteoporosis day. This is achieved through continuous consumption of calcium rich foods like milk and calcium supplements.

A calcium rich diet pre-menopause will help reduce chances of osteoporosis COURTESY
A calcium rich diet will help reduce chances of osteoporosis

Cervical and ovarian cancers
Cervical cancer is a cancer of the entrance of the womb. Ovarian cancer, also known as Epithelial carcinoma involves abnormal cell growth that starts in the ovaries. It is the most common form of cancer. It mostly occurs in women after menopause. Menopause does not cause cancer. It however increases the risk of getting cancer. This is because women who are menopausal have had menstrual periods longer. This means that they have been exposed to estrogen (the hormone that stimulate cells tissue on the uterine wall, breast and cervix) for a longer period. The more menstrual periods a woman has, the longer the tissues are exposed to estrogen and the higher the cancer risk. This therefore means that women who start menopause late have an increased risk of ovarian cancer as they have had more ovulation.
Cancer is prevented from spreading at an early stage. Containment is possible with regular examinations that enable early detection of any form of cancer and reducing the risk of death.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, according to the Institute of Medicine, refers to severe fatigue for more than 5-6 months not caused by any diagnosable diseases nor resolved by rest and coupled or closely followed with at least four other symptoms; hair loss, cognitive impairment, joint/muscle pain and sore throat.
CFS has been diagnosed so far, only in women between the ages 40-50 and four times more in women than in men. The age factor therefore puts CFS as a risk factor for menopause.

Hair loss
Hair loss is one of the most common symptoms of absent menstrual cycle. It is as a result of a fall in estrogen levels which is a natural result of menopause. Absence of estrogen gradually slows down the hair growth cycle leading to hair loss.
Hair loss is resolved using hormone replacement therapy combined with a zinc and biotin rich diet.

Ovarian Cancer and menopause: Risk Factors, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Early Menopause: CDC- WebMD

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