What is Menopause and Andropause: Symptoms, Treatments
What is Menopause?
A woman's life is very demanding. Apart from the weight of responsibilities which have been made mandatory for a women's portfolio that consists of taking care of home, children, schooling and juggling a hectic work life, they have to also deal with many hormonal challenges and changes which greatly takes a toll on their health. There is menstruation, then the pain of monthly cycles, the cramps, pregnancy, labor and delivery, child nurturing, and menopause to deal with.
Menopause can simply be defined as the permanent stopping of the monthly periods of a woman. The term "menopause" is derived from Greek word "meno" meaning month and "pause" mean stop. Usually, the absence of periods for about 12 months is termed as "natural menopause." This process usually occurs when a women is about 45 to 55 years of age. For some women, however, menopause can occur at an earlier age. Early menopause affects about 10% of women under the age of 40. There are cases where a woman's ovaries are removed surgically for some pathological reasons like ovarian cancer and pelvic diseases etc. This process is called oophorectomy which leads to surgical menopause.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
- Vasomotor Symptoms of Menopause: Hot flushes, night sweats and palpitations.
- Atrophic Tissue Symptoms of Menopause: Vaginal dryness, dyspareunia (painful sex), vaginal inflammation, urinary dysfunction.
- Psychological Symptoms of Menopause: Depression, irritability, poor libido, insomnia, memory loss, lack of concentration.
- Other Symptoms of Menopause: Hypertension, ischemic heart disease and osteoporosis.
Treatments to Overcome Menopause Related Problems and Symptoms?
There are different approaches to control the symptoms of menopause. The choice of approaches may vary from person to person. Some people prefer Allopathic medicine system to deal with symptoms of menopause; whereas, others avoid it due to its side effects. Here, we will outline some of the recommended approaches for menopause treatment:
Allopathic Medications for Menopause
A very holistic approach should be used to treat patients with menopause. Women who are going through menopause are generally prescribed multivitamins, micronutrients, and soya products. If these do not work, then they will be substituted with estrogen which can be given orally or topically for treating the symptoms of menopause. To prevent osteoporosis during menopause, women are given calcium and other drugs to make their bones stronger. They are also given drugs to reduce cholesterol. Antidepressants can be used to reduce the hot flashes which are experienced by women going through menopause.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Menopause
Ayurveda treatment is generally based on individual dosha (bodily principles). If you have an excess of one dosha during menopause, then the resulting imbalance of your body tends to produce certain types of menopausal symptoms. Ayurveda treatment for menopause recommends increasing exercise, increasing fruits, whole grains, legumes, vegetables etc. This system believes that your hormonal changes at menopause will be smooth and easy if 3 things are in place and they are: Your mind/body system should be in balance; your diet should be wholesome and rich in phytoestrogens; and your body should be clean and uncluttered.
Yoga for Treating the Symptoms of Menopause
Some physicians believe that yoga is the best way to reduce pre and post menopausal symptoms. Yoga asanas (exercises) as well as pranayama (breathing techniques) can be very helpful in alleviating some of the menopausal symptoms.
Other Ways to Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
Some of the other methods which can help relieve some of the menopausal symptoms are aromatherapy, homeopathy, home remedies, herbal remedies etc.
What is Andropause?
Also known as "male menopause," Andropause is a condition where there is a decrease in the level of testosterone as a man gets older. Andropause is also known as PADAM- Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Ageing Male. It is a normal part of male ageing, although for some men Andropause is accompanied by a gradual and undesired decline in their sexuality. Sometimes, Andropause can even expose men to some serious health risks. There are some drugs that can affect testosterone levels and cause Andropause in the body, such as opiates, barbiturates, anti-fungal medications, anabolic steroids and diuretics. Other factors that cause low testosterone levels and Andropause are: liver cirrhosis, chronic renal failure, infections and inflammations, anemia, asthma, and sleep apnea.
Andropause often goes undiagnosed and its symptoms are often vague. Most of the times, men do not accept that they even have a problem such as Andropause. Many times physicians do not think the possibility of low androgen levels or Andropause. Diagnosing andropause can be quite a task; it is purely based on questionnaire. If the questionnaire of the patient is positive or there are indications or symptoms that point towards a low testosterone level, then a testosterone level test is done to confirm Andropause.
What are the Symptoms of Andropause?
- Low sex drive.
- Emotional, psychological, and behavioral changes.
- Decreased muscle mass.
- Loss of muscle strength.
- Increased upper and central body fat.
- Osteoporosis or weak bones.
- Back pain.
- Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Treatment Approaches to Overcome Andropause Related Problems and Symptoms?
Testosterone replacement therapy works best for Andropause. The mode of administration can vary. However, if a patient has prostate cancer, testosterone replacement therapy can cause flare up of Andropause. Cancer of male breasts is rare, but you have to rule that out as well before undergoing testosterone replacement therapy for treating the symptoms of Andropause.
Menopause and Andropause: CONCLUSION
In conclusion, Menopause and Andropause are both very annoying and unfortunately unavoidable conditions that take a toll on a person's emotional and physical well being. There are many powerful yet gentle therapies to help one cope not only with life during menopause and andropause, but thereafter as well. Men and women should seek these therapies, which will keep them healthy in every dimension of life; whether they are going through Menopause or Andropause.