What Is to Expect and How to Prepare for Menopause?
"Menopause is when women stops having periods for least 12 months after the last menstrual period. Usually women aged 40-58 will experience menopause symptoms," said Dr. dr. Budi Iman Santoso, Sp.OG(K), MPH, a member of teaching staff and the Chairman of Obstetrician and Gynecology Department of the Faculty of Medicine of Universitas Indonesia/Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.
Menopause is not a disease, it is a natural stage in most women' s life. It is the end of the second life transition for women when the estrogen level within blood gradually decreases and disappears completely. They will experience impairment of organ functions which makes them vulnerable against various diseases.
"Some symptoms women experience prior to menopause are irregular menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disruption, mood changes, weight gain, thinning and drying skin, and loss of breast fullness. Although the menstrual cycle becomes irregular, it doesn' t necessarily mean that the woman is infertile. During these times, there is still a chance of getting pregnant," said Dr. Budi.
During menopause, the ovary gradually stops producing estrogen. This condition make changes that may vary for each woman. During and after menopause, the changes in metabolism trigger changes in fat distribution. Bones may lose their mass and strength which increases the risk of getting osteoporosis.
The problem is, women usually are at the peak of their career during the time of menopause. Therefore, it can be a disturbance. For that reason, it is necessary to find out when it will come and not shy away from medical assistance to cope up with the symptoms and anticipate the risk of heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis.
"Actually, the symptoms and signs of menopause are quite obvious. Doctors won' t need any additional check-ups to recognize them. In some conditions, doctors may perform laboratory examination on female reproductive hormones (FSH) and estradiol) to find out if FSH is elevated and the estradiol stays stable during the onset of menopause. Additionally, doctors may also perform Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test since the symptoms of hypothyroid and menopause are oftentimes alike," said Dr. Budi
Symptoms of menopause are quite specific and can be detected. They often happen to women in their late 40s and early 50s. Diagnosis can be established through a test on the hormone level within blood.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test, a test commonly known as the biological marker (biomarker) to detect the women' s fertility, can be beneficial to estimate the occurrence of menopause. The fact was revealed through a research conducted by Jeroen van Disseldorp together with his friends for his MD in University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands (Medicine Net.com). AMH cannot be found in girls prior to their puberty (fertility), it will emerge once a woman reaches their 30. The thing is, AMH does not fluctuate during menstrual period. It suggests that a woman' s fertility level is based on her ovulation biological clock until the time of menopause.