First up – let’s be really clear about what Menopause is.
It’s the end of a woman’s fertility and therefore, her menstrual cycle.
Menopause is one moment in time which signifies the absence of periods for 1 full year. It happens naturally with age but can also stem from surgery, illness or treatment of a disease.
Before this moment, once you start experiencing symptoms, you are perimenopausal and after that moment you are post menopausal.
The age at which you will hit menopause is mostly determined by your genes.
Lets examine the three stages:
This stage begins the you start noticing symptoms. The average age for women to hit this stage is 47 but it can start earlier or later. During this phase you can still get pregnant.
That one date in time that signifies the absence of periods for one year. At this point your ovaries are no longer make estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones required for fertility.
Once you have hit menopause, you are into postmenopause.
When occurring naturally the first sign is usually an irregular menstrual cycle. The average length of time to experience perimenopause is within 4 years from your first symptoms but, as we are now talking more about this major facet of women health we are learning that so many people are affected in different ways.
There are cases of teenage girls going through the menopause, women in their 30’s experiencing perimenopausal symptoms that last well in to their 40’s.
Whatever your experience knowledge is power so the more you can learn about what is going on, the better.
Alongside the irregular cycle there are many common symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Low mood
- Low sex drive
- Painful sex
- Vaginal dryness
- Brain Fog / Lack of focus and concentration
These symptoms can be so severe that they can massively effect quality of life. Women have believed they were suffering from early onset dementia and some have even felt suicidal.
If you are struggling, please speak up and please get help.