The Experience of Menopause

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Menopause is a normal life event that every woman will experience if she does not die prematurely (Buttaro, Trybulski, Bailey and Sandberg-Cook, 2013). The experience begins as perimenopause, with 10-15 years of declining fertility followed by twelve consecutive months without menses, thereby officially closing as menopause. Marnocha, Bergstrom and Dempsey (2011) conducted a study looking at the lived experience of perimenopause and menopause. They identified that some woman viewed perimenopause and menopause as a disease or illness (medicalization) while others considered them to be a rite of passage through life (transitions theory) which they considered normal (Marnocha, et. al. 2011).
Women experiencing menopause commonly notice several changes occurring that can be alarming to them. Common changes they may see are irregular bleeding, development of hot flashes, vaginal dryness and irritation, emotional lability, memory lapses, insomnia and decreased libido (Buttaro, et. al, 2013). All of these have psychological implications for the woman of which they may have varying responses towards. Additionally, going through menopause carries with it some inherent risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers.
Diagnosis of menopause is typically more subjective based upon lack of menses for 12 consecutive months in a woman entering the age of 50. Lab tests such as FSH, LH, and estrogen levels can be drawn in unclear cases, but as these values vary

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