Menopause is not the end of life, but the beginning of a stage that occupies almost a third of a female’s life. On the other hand, it is suggested that the climacteric is not the cessation of existence, but the phase that leaves open the doors to the enjoyment of a new lifestyle that must have less tension and less burden.
According to the concepts of health, mental health, and sexual health of the World Health Organization (WHO), nothing should prevent the climacteric woman from being able to be mentally and sexually healthy. So the health professional should be updated in all those elements that result in a better performance, and in the expression of the fullness of the physical, mental, and social possibilities of women at this stage.
Here, we will delve into the historical and conceptual aspects of climacteric and menopause and the essential elements related to its main symptoms and signs, the risk factors in this stage, as well as the therapeutic behavior that should be taken into account for adequate management, in comprehensive care, by health professionals.
Now, throughout the sexual life of women, stages can be pointed out that for some become important vital events; menarche, the first sexual relationship, pregnancy, childbirth, and the climacteric. Different studies have shown that women experience menopause according to their hereditary factors, diet, lifestyle, social environment, and cultural attitudes.
Although the words menopause and climacteric are used indistinctly, they actually do not mean the same thing. The first one refers to the definitive disappearance of menstruation for a period of approximately 12 months, due to the failure of the ovarian function. Before the age of 40, its appearance is called precocious menopause.
Climacteric is known as the time during which one passes from reproductive to non-reproductive life. According to current criteria of the WHO, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 59. It begins a few years before menopause (perimenopause) and extends a few years later (postmenopause). Other studies define postmenopause in a woman’s life, after the cessation of reproductive function of her ovaries.
The climacteric is a stage in which the woman can live with less tension since she will no longer have the risk or fear of pregnancy; she will not need contraceptive methods, she can no longer worry about family planning, menstrual discomfort, attention to small children. Who, by this stage, are old enough to take care of themselves, can share time with their grandchildren and show herself ready to enjoy family, work, and social life to the fullest.
According to the modern concepts of health, nothing should prevent the climacteric woman from being mentally and sexually healthy. That is why you should be informed about the elements that allow the fullness of your physical, mental, and social possibilities at this stage of life.
What are some possible temporary symptoms of menopause? If you manifest any of the following, you should seek assistance from your health care provider:
- Amenorrhea, infertility.
- Vasomotor symptoms.
- Urogenital atrophy.
- Effects on sexuality. Decreased vaginal tropism, dyspareunia, and sensory integrity disorder decrease in libido and the functioning of the female erectile organ.
- Cognitive changes. Initially, in the post-menopause, there can be observed adverse changes in memory and ability to concentrate, changes in the way of thinking and the ability to analyze.
- Symptoms of depressive type. The climacteric can cause depressive symptoms without constituting a chronic depression or major depression.
- Sleep disorders. Associated with vasomotor symptoms.
- Due to the increase in bone resorption, which directly depends on the degree of hypoestrogenism, it conditions an increased risk of fractures, especially of the spine, hip, and forearm.
- Cardiovascular risk. Hypoestrogenism increases coronary risk by negatively affecting various cardiovascular risk factors.
- Post-menopause is associated with an unfavorable increase of some coagulation factors (fibrinogen, factor VII, PAI-1).
- Body composition. There is an increase and redistribution of fat mass (centripetal tendency) and a decrease in muscle mass. It may also appear or worsen insulin resistance.
- Effects on the skin. Trophic alterations of the skin can occur with decreased collagen and elastin.
For these reasons, we must take care that everything is balanced in our overall health. So, when menopause begins its course, you can avoid all the unpleasant discomforts that come with it and, thus, enjoy this special transformation when all women are destined to grow spiritually.