menopause begins in 50s

Everything You Need to Know About Menopause

Menopause occurs when a woman has reached a certain age. After one year without menstruation, one is considered to be in menopause. It generally occurs between the late 40s and early 50s, but it can occur at any age.

A woman’s body can undergo many changes during menopause, which can be scary. These changes are caused by a decrease in the production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. Hot flushes, weight gain, and vaginal dryness are some symptoms. 

Menopause is a natural process, and every woman will eventually undergo it. But don’t worry; becoming prepared will help ease you out. Plus, there are treatments nowadays that will help relieve the symptoms of menopause. 

Your Questions About Menopause Answered

It is common for women to experience uncomfortable symptoms during menopause, such as hot flushes and weight gain. This natural condition does not require medical treatment for most women.

To help you navigate menopause better, we will answer common questions here.

1. How old will I be when I enter menopause?

The average age of onset of menopause is 51 years old. Most women stop having periods between the ages of 45 and 55. However, in some women, declining ovary function can begin years before that. But, it is not uncommon for some to continue having menstrual periods into their 50s.

Generally, the timing of menopause is determined by genetics, but things such as smoking or chemotherapy can accelerate ovary decline, leading to an earlier onset.

2. Is there a difference between menopause and perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the period that precedes menopause. It is the period when your body prepares to transition into menopause. In other words, your ovaries are beginning to produce fewer hormones. 

As a result, you may experience some symptoms commonly associated with menopause, such as hot flushes. The menstrual cycle may become irregular during the perimenopause phase, but it will not cease.

On the contrary, menopause is when you stop having a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months.

3. What hormonal changes happen during menopause?

During menopause, your ovaries cease producing large amounts of hormones. Ovaries store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. Additionally, they produce estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. 

Progesterone and estrogen work together to control menstruation. Besides influencing calcium absorption and cholesterol levels in the blood, estrogen also affects how your body uses these minerals.

As menopause approaches, your ovaries stop releasing eggs into the fallopian tubes, and you’ll have your last menstrual cycle.

4. What are the symptoms of menopause?

There is no one-size-fits-all experience when it comes to menopause. When menopause occurs suddenly or over a shorter period, the symptoms tend to be more severe.

Symptoms tend to be more severe and last longer in individuals with conditions affecting the ovary, such as cancer or hysterectomy.

Symptoms of perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause are generally similar except for menstruation changes. The following symptoms characterize perimenopause:

  • Menstruation becomes less frequent
  • An unusually heavier or lighter period
  • Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as night sweats, hot flashes, and flushing

According to the Journal of The North American Menopause Society, 75% of women experience hot flushes due to menopause.

There are also many other symptoms associated with menopause, such as:

  • Sleeplessness and insomnia
  • Insufficiency of vaginal moisture
  • Putting on weight
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Concentration problems
  • Issues with memory
  • Low libido or sexual drive
  • Dry mouth, eyes, and skin
  • Tendency to urinate more frequently
  • Breasts that feel tender or sore
  • Migraines
  • Racing heartbeat
  • UTIs or urinary tract infections
  • A reduction in muscle mass
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Bone density reduction
  • Less full breasts
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Increased hair growth on the body’s face, neck, chest, and upper back

5. What are hot flushes, and how long will I have them?

It is common for women going through menopause to experience hot flushes. It’s a feeling of heat for a short time. 

Every person experiences hot flashes differently, and they are caused by abnormal levels of the hormones mentioned above. In addition to heat, hot flushes may also cause:

  • Red, flushed skin;
  • Excessive sweating; and
  • Feeling chilled after being hot for a while

In addition to feeling differently for each individual, hot flushes can also last for varying durations. Some women only experience hot flushes during menopause for a short time. Meanwhile, others may experience hot flushes for the rest of their lives. But don’t worry because hot flushes often become less severe as time passes. 

6. How do I know when I’m having a hot flush?

When you experience a hot flash, your body temperature will likely rise. It is common for the top half of your body to experience hot flashes, and your skin may appear red or blotchy. You may experience sweating, palpitations, and dizziness. Afterward, a chilly feeling may follow.

You may experience hot flushes every day or even multiple times a day. Moreover, they may last for several months or even years.

It is sometimes possible to reduce the frequency of hot flushes by avoiding triggers. Among them are:

  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Eating spicy food
  • Having a stressful time
  • Being in a hot place

Also, you should remember that smoking and being overweight can exacerbate hot flushes.

Some techniques may help reduce the symptoms of hot flushes:

  • Layer your clothing to prevent hot flushes, and use a fan in your home or office.
  • During a hot flush, breathe deeply to minimize the intensity.

You may be able to reduce your hot flushes by using medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy, and even other prescriptions. However, remember that you should consult your physician if you are having difficulty managing hot flushes on your own.

7. How can menopause affect my mental health?

During menopause, hormone changes can affect both your mental and physical health. It is possible to feel anxious, stressed, or even depressed. There are several menopausal symptoms you may experience, such as:

  • Irritability and anger
  • Anxiety
  • Having trouble remembering
  • Low self-esteem
  • Confidence loss
  • Feelings of depression or low mood
  • Concentration problems are called ‘brain fog’ and “lost words.”

Sleep problems are common among women going through menopause or perimenopause. Irritability, inability to concentrate, and anxiety can also be worsened by lack of sleep and fatigue.

8. How long does menopause last?

If you have not had a menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months, you are in menopause. Before menopause, women can experience perimenopause for eight to ten years. Postmenopause is the period that follows menopause and will last throughout your lifetime. Menopause occurs at a median age of 51 in Australia.

9. Will I start menopause if I have a hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy involves removing your uterus. After this procedure, you won’t have a period. It is possible, however, that you might not experience symptoms of menopause right away if you maintain your ovaries (removing your ovaries is called an oophorectomy). But when your ovaries are removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.

Menopausal is Normal

Undergoing menopause is a normal thing for women. Some changes are hard, but we believe you can overcome them with the right knowledge and support system. If you think you need a break to process and cope with the changes happening to you during menopause, you can reach out to Click Clinic. You can get a valid medical certificate for multiple days from us. Remember, taking your time is okay.