Menopause is a phenomenon a lot of women experience, but what exactly happens to the body during this stage? Find out below.
In this article:
- What Is Menopause?
- What Is the Average Age of Menopause?
- Is There Such a Thing as Early Menopause?
- How Long Does Menopause Last?
- What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
- What Are the Different Stages of Menopause?
- How Do I Get Diagnosed for Menopause?
- How Can I Treat the Symptoms of Menopause?
- Are Menopause Supplements Safe and Effective?
- How Do I Take Care of My Menopausal Health?
- Can Menopausal Women Get Pregnant?
Everything You Need to Know About Menopause: Signs, Stages, Age, and Treatment Options
What Is Menopause?
Simply put, menopause is the period in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating. This is an indication of loss of fertility, generally speaking.
A woman has officially reached this period if a year has passed and her monthly menstrual cycle hasn’t manifested. Hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone (the hormones which control the menstrual cycle), begin to decline as well.
Cholesterol and calcium levels may rise and decline, too, respectively, during this stage.
What Is the Average Age of Menopause?
Note that a woman’s menarche does not indicate what age she experiences the start of menopause.
Menarche Definition: The first menstrual cycle
Is There Such a Thing as Early Menopause?
As mentioned earlier, some women may experience menopause as early as 30 years old (aka premature menopause). Such occurrence may be attributed to preexisting medical conditions:
- Unresolved viral infection
- Fragile X
- Turner’s syndrome
- Thyroid disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
According to studies on women’s health, about 5% of women naturally go through early menopause.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
Experts say this period may last for up to 7.4 years. But if you experience the symptoms of menopause early, it may last 11.8 years.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
There are several symptoms that come with reaching your menopausal stage. You may experience any of these:
- Burning sensation in the tongue
- Body odor due to excessive sweating
- Breast soreness
- Brittle nails due to decreasing water levels in the body
- Depression, mood swings, panic attacks, or irritability due to fluctuating or decreasing hormone levels
- Digestive problems
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Electric shock feeling a hot flash
- Gum problems
- Hair loss
- Heart palpitations
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Decreased libido
- Irregular menstruation
- Itchy or dry skin
- Joint pain
- Memory lapses and reduced focus
- Muscle tension
- Sleeping problems
- Tingling sensation in the feet and hands
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
What Are the Different Stages of Menopause?
There are three main stages of menopause:
This period is when women start experiencing irregular periods. You may also experience some of the symptoms listed above.
This stage may last for 4-8 years. Perimenopause usually begins in a woman’s late 40s.
This stage is when the symptoms listed manifest in full blow.
This is when the symptoms of menopause stop to manifest in the body.
Women also experience the lowest levels of estrogen during the postmenopausal stage. Complications such as heart conditions pose high risks, but they may be addressed by simple lifestyle changes or hormone therapy.
How Do I Get Diagnosed for Menopause?
There are two main tests which confirm if a woman is at her menopausal stage:
- Physical exam. This assesses the symptoms and irregularities experienced.
- Hormone test. The PicoAMH Elisa test helps determine the levels of the anti-Müllerian hormone, the hormone responsible for the development of sex follicles.
How Can I Treat the Symptoms of Menopause?
Treatment options for the symptoms of menopause may include:
- Anti-depressants in low dosages
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Osteoporosis medication
- Vaginal estrogen cream, tablet, or ring for vaginal dryness
- Peptide therapy for hair loss
- Lifestyle changes
- Regular exercise
- Diet shift
Are Menopause Supplements Safe and Effective?
The effects of menopause supplements are relative and dependent on the health status and cellular makeup of the person taking them. There is no guarantee of treatment but a study suggests they may support medical treatment plans.
Dietary and botanical supplements commonly taken by the perimenopausal and postmenopausal female subjects in the study included:
- Red clover
- Black cohosh
How Do I Take Care of My Menopausal Health?
The symptoms of menopause may be overwhelming but taking simple and natural steps to help manage them may make a great difference. Here’s how you can take care of your menopausal health.
- Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake to strengthen bones.
- Eat a balanced diet. Avoid too much sugar and salt and processed foods.
- Get regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking, consuming caffeine, and drinking alcohol.
- Minimize your calorie intake. Eat more vegetables and fruits instead, especially those rich in phytoestrogens.
- Hydrate; drink 8-12 glasses of water a day unless contraindicated.
- Opt for healthy proteins such as fish and legumes to increase muscle mass.
- Take prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion.
Phytoestrogens Definition: Plant-based substances which mimic the structure of estrogen. They may supplement a menopausal body with estrogen, the hormone which continues to decrease with age.
Can Menopausal Women Get Pregnant?
Menopausal women may still get pregnant. But the pregnancy during this stage, or even during perimenopause, may be risky.
The health risk posed by menopausal pregnancy may be attributed to the fact that the hormones of the mother are already depleting and the muscles have started to weaken or have already weakened. And so, deliveries during this stage are usually done via the cesarian method.
Menopause is a gradual change and a significant transition period in a woman’s life. Knowing what you’re dealing with can help you mentally and emotionally prepare for this stage of life.
Integrative health care may also be of assistance to you. Reach out to us at LIV Health so we can connect you to the right and trusted specialists.
Did we answer all of your questions regarding menopause and everything that comes with it? If you have more questions or comments, do let us know below!