Menopause is a natural process in which menstruation definitively ceases and a whole array of unfamiliar symptoms appear. It is a transitional moment in a woman’s life, and almost every woman entering menopause is filled with questions and concerns. Menopause F.A.Q. is intended to answer all these questions, and to help improve women’s health and quality of life through a better understanding of menopause.
Q: What is Menopause?
A: Menopause is the end of menstruation and the end of childbearing years. You are not considered to have reached menopause until you have gone one full year without any bleeding or spotting. Menopause, often referred to as “the change of life,” is the natural transition out of childbearing years. Menopause in women is the reverse of puberty.
Q: What happens during Menopause?
A: Every woman is born with fixed amount of eggs in her ovaries, which are used up throughout her menstruating/child bearing years. During menopause, the ovaries gradually produce lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones.
Q: What Estrogen & Progesterone do in our body?
A: Estrogen is known as a ‘female hormone’ and plays a key role in shaping the female body. One of estrogen’s primary roles is to promote the growth of cells in the breast and uterus and estrogen affects many aspects of women’s physical and emotional health. Progesterone is the second most important female hormone. Progesterone is primarily responsible for regulating the reproductive cycle.
Q. What is the average age of perimenopause?
A. The average age is 48 years old; however the physical and emotional changes of perimenopause can begin to occur as early as the late thirties.
Q. What are the symptoms of perimenopause?
A. The most common symptoms are the following: irregular periods, mood swings, difficulty getting to sleep, decrease energy, heart palpitations and occasional hot flashes.
Q. How do I know if I am in perimenopause or menopause?
A. You are in perimenopause if you are still having any periods of any length or frequency.
Q. Is there a blood test that I can take to determine if I am in menopause?
A. Follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) can be suggestive of menopause years.
Q. How long do menopausal symptoms last?
A. It varies from woman to woman. The majority of symptoms can last anywhere from six months to two years. Some women have complained of experiencing hot flashes occasionally for the rest of their life. This is the minority.
Q. What lifestyle changes would you recommend to a woman going through menopause?
A. During the time of menopause, a woman may find herself with more time to spare as circumstances in life take a change. It’s also a time to look at making life as healthy as possible. She can start exercising, doing yoga or Pilates. She can look at intimacy with her partner and ways to reconnect.
This is a time when a woman can really start to look at and care about her health – cholesterol, diet, exercise, and sex life. People are often more open to making changes at these times, since life may be less hectic.
In general, good health habits in women experiencing menopause are also good health habits in general. Here are some tips:
- Get about 150 minutes of exercise each week, including Yoga & Pilates
- Follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
- Regular Meditation to keep mental harmony
- Try to maintain healthy weight for your height.
- Maintain bone strength. The physical activity you do each week should include weight-bearing exercises at least 2 times each week. WHO guidelines now recommend daily intake of 1,500 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D to keep bones healthy.
- See your doctor regularly. Get a regular Pap test, mammogram, bone density test (if recommended by your doctor), and bowel exam.
Women today are living into their 80s, so they are spending one-third of their life in menopausal years. We want those years to be healthy and vibrant, not housebound or fragile. Don’t let menopause keep you from leading a fulfilling life.