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Menopause: Symptoms, Complications, and What You Can Do

They say that age is all in your mind.  The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.

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Hot flashes, insomnia, and mood changes: chances are, if you’re a woman in her 40s or 50s, you’ve recognized these symptoms as the telltale signs of menopause. Of course, there are many other, seldom talked-about symptoms which can also disrupt your routine, from diminishing libido to cognitive changes and a decline in mental acuity. All of these factors can significantly impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, in many cases, women simply push through and deal with the discomfort.

With Cenegenics, that doesn’t have to be the case. We’re the pioneers behind the medical specialty of age management; in fact, one of our physicians even wrote the book on it, which other doctors use to study optimal health through aging. We’re therefore exceptionally well-versed in the aging processes — including menopause. Fortunately, this also means we know how to control its frustrating symptoms. Discover more about what menopause is and the symptoms it causes below.

What Is Menopause?


Menopause is the natural end to a woman’s menstrual cycles. By medical standards, a woman is considered to have “hit menopause” once she’s gone 12 months without any periods. Yet, there can be months or even years leading up to this timeframe (called perimenopause), during which you experience a litany of uncomfortable symptoms. The average age for menopause in the U.S. is 52, but it can occur any time during a woman’s 40s or 50s. [1]

Menopause occurs as a result of the natural decrease of reproductive hormones by the ovaries. In specific, estrogen and progesterone production declines, resulting in a loss of fertility and variations in menstrual periods. Undergoing a hysterectomy can also prompt menopause, especially if the ovaries are removed in addition to the uterus (considered a total hysterectomy). In such cases, the symptoms of menopause may be severe, as hormonal changes are brought on abruptly instead of over the course of years. [2]

In a way, the frustrating part about menopause is that it isn’t considered a disease or disorder; rather, it’s a natural process. Yet, its symptoms can feel very much like that of a chronic disease, stretching on for seven to 14 years. [3] In our opinion, that’s far too long to live uncomfortably — especially with the body-wide symptoms that can accompany menopause, described below.

The Symptoms of Menopause


Menopause can impact women and their heath including mental, physical, and emotional levels, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort
  • Hot flashes
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Weight gain, especially in the abdominal area
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
  • Racing heart
  • Increased urination
  • Breast tenderness or soreness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive challenges, including difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Changes in hair color, volume, and texture
  • Hot flashes
  • Dry skin
  • Joint stiffness and pain [4]

What Are Potential Complications of Menopause?


In addition to the symptoms described above, there are some potential complications associated with menopause. Following the cessation of menstrual periods, a woman’s risk for some medical conditions increases, including:

  • Osteoporosis: Women’s bones tend to be thinner and smaller than men’s. During the onset of menopause, the decrease in estrogen levels can lead to bone loss, as the hormone protects bone tissue. Roughly one in two women over 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis, and an estimated 80% of the people who experience the condition are women. [5]
  • Cardiovascular disease: Decreases in estrogen levels is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both women and men. [6] Estrogen is believed to aid in blood vessel flexibility, allowing them to support proper blood flow. When production of this important hormone drops, the risk of heart attacks goes up. [7]

    While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may not be prescribed for women specifically for improving cardiovascular health, it is a powerful benefit of treatment. Research published in the BMJ indicates a significant reduction in heart failure, myocardial infarction, and overall mortality following HRT after menopause. [8]
  • Urinary incontinence: With the decrease in key reproductive hormones also comes the loss of elasticity in the pelvic floor. The tissue in the vagina and urethra may weaken, leading to urinary incontinence and increased urinary tract infections. Pelvic floor exercises may reduce some of these symptoms; or, HRT may help alleviate the vaginal changes tied to incontinence. [9]

Quality of Life During and After Menopause – In Conclusion


middle aged woman jogging and smiling into distance

The long list of symptoms and potential complications above only provides a glimpse of what menopause is really like. For anyone who’s living it, the discomfort can become difficult to bear. While menopause is a natural process, you shouldn’t have to live with the discomfort of its symptoms.

Cenegenics is here to help. We specialize in the health, wellness, and hormone imbalances and help your body reverse its biological clock to rebalance your levels and restore the energy, cognitive function, and physical wellbeing you had in your 20s or 30s.

We take a highly scientific approach to get your body perfectly tuned at a cellular level, taking into consideration your unique needs based on specific biomarkers and making tailored recommendations to promote ideal function. Some aspects of our program include lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise, as well as prescriptions for nutraceuticals or HRT when clinically indicated.

Browse through our Cenegenics reviews and you’ll quickly see that we have a proven track record of helping patients navigate the changes that come with age. In fact, we’re the “doctor’s doctor,” trusted by the physicians and their families who make up a quarter of our patient base. Most patients feel better within 30 to 60 days of starting our program.

If you’re ready to see how we can improve your life during and after menopause, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about Cenegenics cost and the included Elite Health evaluation, or with any other questions you may have about getting started.

Next Steps - Don’t Suffer Needlessly from the Symptoms
of Menopause

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About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Menopause. Mayo Clinic. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397?page=0&citems=10

[2] See above.

[3] What Is Menopause? National Institute of Aging. Derived from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause

[4] Complications. Derived from: https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause#complications

[5] What Women Need to Know. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Derived from: https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/

[6] See above.   

[7] Menopause and Heart Disease. Derived from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/menopause-and-heart-disease

[8] Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: randomised trial. Derived from: https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6409

[9] See above.

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