Understand the facts about menopause before you start to experience the symptoms.
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Menopause can cause many changes in a woman. Knowing the facts before signs and symptoms begin is essential.
1. Every woman goes through menopause
We first begin with perimenopause, which is the time right before menopause. This is when your body begins transitioning into menopause. You may experience some common symptoms associated with menopause, like hot flashes. Your menstrual cycle may become irregular, but it won’t cease during perimenopause. Once you’ve stopped your menstrual cycle for twelve consecutive months, you’ve entered menopause.
During perimenopause, it may be difficult to determine whether symptoms are brought on by shifts in your hormones, life circumstances, or the aging process itself.
2. It usually occurs between 45 – 55
A very general age range for experiencing menopause is between the ages of 40 and 58 years old, but most times it falls into the 45 – 55 age range, with the average onset happening at age 51.
An indication of when it may occur for you, is the average age of your grandmother, mother and sisters at the time they began menopause. It certainly is not a hard and fast rule, but may give a general idea.
3. Estrogen production drops beginning around age 40
Estrogen is mainly produced in our ovaries and is responsible for regulating our reproductive system. Once our estrogen levels begin to decline, you may experience different changes in your body and mind. There are FDA approved therapies for the treatment of symptoms, mainly hot flashes. Speak with your doctor to see if any are right for you.
4. 7 out of 10 women are bothered by hot flashes
About 70% of middle aged women will experience hot flashes as a part of menopause. During a hot flash, your temperature rises and your skin may turn red and even blotchy. You may experience sweating, sometimes severe, and heart palpitations.
It is different for everyone. Some may have hot flashes only occasionally, while others will deal with them multiple times a day over the course of several years.
Some hot flash triggers include:
Alcohol and caffeine consumption
Indulging in spicy foods
Hot flash prevention tips:
Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine
Use a fan at home or work to help cool you down
Dress in layers you can “peel off” when body temp rises
Speak with your doctor about medications that may help
For more information on hot flashes, check out this article.
5. Symptoms of menopause usually last between 4 & 8 years
Each woman’s journey is unique. The transition often takes about four years, but some symptoms may last much longer. There are no rules as to when menopause begins or when it ends.
Even though a woman has not menstruated in twelve consecutive months, symptoms may still persist, especially hot flashes, due to the loss of estrogen in the body. Most women stop having hot flashes within 5 years of their last period, but for some, moderate to severe hot flashes occur for 10 years or more.
For a closer, more detailed look at menopause, please check out my book, Understanding Menopause.
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