If you’ve got any questions or maybe you’re wondering about the myths surrounding the menopause, this should clue you in before you visit your doctor.
So the first question here is basically, what is the menopause?
Women past a certain age will experience menopause, which is defined as having no menstrual periods for one year. The age you experience it can vary, but typically this occurs in your late 40s or early 50s.
Menopause can cause many changes to your body. These symptoms are the result of your body decreasing the production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries.
So some of the main symptoms are the most famous ones too, like hot flashes, weight gain, or vaginal dryness. Menopause can also increase your risk for certain conditions later in life, like osteoporosis.
Some women find getting through menopause requires little medical attention, but others will need to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a doctor.
Here are 11 things every woman should know about menopause.
1. What age will I be when start menopause?
On average, women who start menopause are 51 years of age. The majority of women stop having periods somewhere between the age of 45 and 55.
But the beginning stages can begin years before that in some women, while others will continue their periods into their late 50s.
The age of menopause is thought to be determined genetically, but if you’re a smoker or you’ve had chemotherapy, these can accelerate ovary decline, resulting in earlier menopause.
2. What’s the difference between perimenopause and menopause?
Perimenopause is the period of time right before menopause begins.
During perimenopause, your body is beginning to transition into menopause, with hormone production from your ovaries beginning to decline. You may begin to experience some symptoms commonly associated with menopause, like hot flashes. You may also notice your menstrual cycle may becoming irregular.
Once your periods completely stop for 12 consecutive months, then you’ve entered menopause.
3. When do I know that I’m having a hot flash?
Oh you’ll know. During a hot flash, you’ll feel your body temperature rise, your skin may even turn red or blotchy. This rush of heat could lead to sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of dizziness. After the hot flash, you may feel cold.
You can manage them however, by avoid triggers like spicy foods, caffeine, or alcohol. Then you can also talk to your doctor about medications that may help reduce your hot flash symptoms such as birth control pills or hormone therapies.
4. What symptoms are caused by the reduced levels of estrogen in my body?
About 75% of women experience hot flashes during menopause, making them the most common symptom. Hot flashes can occur day or night, with some women also experiencing muscle and joint pain, or mood swings.
It may be difficult to determine whether these symptoms are caused by shifts in your hormones, or other things like life circumstances or ageing.
5. How does menopause affect my bone health?
A decline in estrogen production affects the amount of calcium in your bones, which can decrease bone density, leading to osteoporosis. It can also make you more susceptible to hip, spine, and other bone fractures.
So to keep your bones healthy, try eating foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products or dark leafy greens, take vitamin D supplements and exercise regularly.
You can also try to reduce alcohol and smoking in your habits, and of course consult your doctor.
6. Will I gain weight when I experience menopause?
Changes in your hormone levels could cause you to gain weight, as well as ageing, so many women do experience weight gain in menopause.