Menopause marks a turning point in women’s health that is essential to understand. While public conversations about menstruation have opened up in recent years, menopause is still shrouded in mystery. Today, we aim to demystify this time in a woman’s life. Read to learn the basics about menopause.

Perimenopause

One of the first myths that we’re busting today is the difference between perimenopause and the menopausal period. Many of the symptoms that are considered traditional symptoms of menopause are actually perimenopause symptoms. Perimenopause is the first couple of years before the menopausal period starts.

  • Changes in periods. This includes a whole host of potential issues. Longer or shorter menstrual periods, lighter or heavier bleeding, as well as greater or shorter time between periods.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes consist of sudden feelings of heat. More severe hot flashes include physical symptoms like flushing of the face and neck, red blotches on the chest and arms.  Hot flashes are usually followed by shivering. Hot flashes last 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
  • Trouble sleeping due to a variety of physical problems. Even when you get to sleep, it is a dissatisfying sleep, and people wake up unrested.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Mood swings, or persistent negative emotions.
  • Trouble focusing and easily distracted.
  • Thinning hair on the top of the head, more hair, such as whiskers, on the face.

As an important note, women can still definitely get pregnant during the perimenopause stage. If birth control is required in your relationship, continue using it until the official menopausal period.

Menopausal Transition

Menopause usually begins at some point between age 45 and 55. Medical experts define menopause as a point exactly 12 months after a woman’s most recent period. The transition between perimenopause and menopause usually lasts seven years, but sometimes lasts over fourteen years.

Medical procedures, such as a hysterectomy, also triggers the menopausal transition. Women who have any reproductive organs removed before their body starts menopause must take hormones to prevent the process from beginning too early.

Changes During The Transition

Hormones

During the transition, the physical production of estrogen and progesterone bounces all over the place. Once a woman hits the menopause point, her estrogen and progesterone levels steadily decline.

Bone Density

Women’s bone density decreases during menopause. The decreased density leads to bones that fracture easier. For example, bumping into a chair might just hurt before menopause, but after menopause, it might lead to a broken toe.

Energy Processing

Due to the hormonal changes, the body begins to use energy differently. The fat cells in the body change and women often find that their body gains weight easily.

Post-Menopause

Post-menopausal women are vulnerable to heart disease and osteoporosis. Doctors emphasize a healthy diet and high calcium intake during this period.