What is Menopause?
Menopause is when your period takes a long, extended forever vacation because of the fluctuation of hormones. It's like a rollercoaster that usually swings by for women in their late 40s to mid-50s, but it can make an early appearance, too.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
The average span of the menopause journey is 7-14 years… I know, long isn’t it.
What are the Three Stages of Menopause?
I don't know about you, but I didn’t know that menopause isn't just a one-and-done deal. Nope, it comes in stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopausal. Like, seriously? We can't catch a break, can we?
But hey, it's not all bad news. In fact, there's a silver lining to this hormonal rollercoaster. Menopause, as intimidating as it may sound, marks the end of the menstrual cycle – and that, my friends, is definitely a cause for celebration in my eyes.
Say goodbye to fumbling with tampons, pads, or diva cups. No more awkward "check me" moments with your pals, and those pesky butthole cramps and period poops? Yeah, we've all been there (let's not pretend otherwise).
The First Stage: Perimenopause
Alright, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of perimenopause, the stage that often sneaks up on us without a warning. So, here's the deal – perimenopause is that transition phase around your mid 30s-40s. These wild symptoms? Yep, they're all thanks to a drop in oestrogen production.
Your estrogen levels go on a rollercoaster ride, causing your menstrual cycles to go haywire – they can either stretch out or get shorter, and there might be times when your ovaries decide to take a break from releasing eggs. Talk about unpredictable!
The tricky part? Many of us experience these symptoms without realising what's happening inside our bodies. Feeling tired, down, or plain irritable without an obvious reason can be super frustrating, right?
Here's a list of some more perimenopause symptoms you might come across:
- Irregular bleeding
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings
- Sleep troubles
- Pruitus – dry, irritable skin
Once you’ve got 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle, you have officially reached the next stage: Menopause!
Second Stage: Menopause
Alright, let's dive into the next chapter – Menopause! Now, this stage can crash the party anytime between your fabulous 40s and your amazing 50s. What's interesting is that the symptoms are quite similar to perimenopause, but here they go into full swing:
Signs of Menopause:
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
- Brain fog
- Discomfort during sex
- Adult acne
- Recurring UTIs
- Heart palpitations
Yeah… the list is almost as long as birth control side-effects... lucky us?
Third Stage: Postmenopausal
This is the stage where you've waved goodbye to Aunt Flo for a solid 12 months. The good news? Those menopausal symptoms, like hot flushes, start to mellow out.
During this phase, there's a conversation about osteoporosis and heart disease risk. The good news is that medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce those risks. However, here's the catch – some people continue to experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or more post-menopause. It's like a prolonged journey…
….but remember, you're not alone in this!
And there are some up-sides! After the rollercoaster ride of hormonal changes, numerous women find themselves experiencing increased happiness and a sense of calm post-menopause. As hormone fluctuations settle down, energy levels tend to climb, sleep quality improves, and many women express a heightened sense of positivity.
Are There Any Tips to Help Deal with Menopause?
Don’t worry though girls! There are many tips and tricks to combat the effects of menopause, to make the journey a bit more smooth sailing:
Transitioning to a healthier diet, one that's packed with calcium and Vitamin D, can work wonders for both your physical and mental well-being. When combined with a consistent exercise routine and relaxing activities such as yoga, and by steering clear of smoking and alcohol, you can effectively mitigate the hormonal impacts of the menopausal cycle.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a valuable treatment aimed at alleviating menopausal symptoms by replenishing hormones that tend to decrease as you approach this phase.
No matter where you are in your menopausal journey, it's crucial to seek the necessary help and support to manage any symptoms you encounter. To ensure you always receive the most suitable treatment and support, keep tabs on these changes and have a conversation with your GP if you have concerns. Your well-being is the top priority!
Managing hot flushes & night sweats
To effectively manage the impact of hot flushes and night sweats, you could consider opting for lightweight clothing and steering clear of potential triggers such as caffeine, hot beverages, or spicy foods.
When is World Menopause Day?
World Menopause Day is held on the 18th October every year, led by the International Menopause Society.
Yep, it's the journey that every woman embarks on, but not everyone seems to talk about it openly. Well, it's about time we change that! World Menopause Day is here to break the silence and shed light on the nitty-gritty truths of this phase in a woman's life.