Menopause: Navigating Each Stage
Although menopause is a natural part of life’s journey for women, it is still a part of our lifespan that is rarely discussed. While many of us think of menopause as starting our 50s, menopause can actually start as early as your late 30s and last throughout your life! Whether you’re going through menopause right now or feel like you are decades away from it, it’s important to understand what the different stages of menopause look like so you can be prepared and informed. Knowledge is power!
Perimenopause occurs for most women in their mid-to-late 40s and is considered the first “stage” of menopause. During perimenopause, the regular hormonal “dance” of your reproductive years becomes more unpredictable and the frequency of eggs released from your ovaries slows down. Other things you can expect during perimenopause include:
- Irregular periods that eventually stop for twelve full months
- Night sweats and hot flashes are the most common symptoms for most women
The official definition of menopause is when you haven’t experienced a period for twelve consecutive months. While most people associate “menopause” with the entire period of perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, menopause itself is officially one single day in your life’s journey. The average age of menopause for women in the U.S. is 51 meaning that many woman have their final menstruation around age 50 (though there is a wide range).
As the name suggests, post-menopause is the period which follows menopause and will last the rest of your life! When you’ve entered this stage, your ovaries no longer release eggs, which means you cannot get pregnant or have periods. You may continue to experience “menopausal symptoms” throughout this stage. For some women, these symptoms eventually come to an end, but for others they can last decades! Don’t fear though – your Diana Health provider can help you with treatment plans to ease your symptoms. Common symptoms of this stage include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life and does not actually require any treatment! However, if your menopause symptoms interfere with your daily life, there are treatment options for easing those. Hormone replacement therapy (taking estrogen and progesterone) can help ease many menopause symptoms and are one of the most popular treatments for menopause. There are many different kinds of hormone replacement treatments, each with their own list of pros and cons, so you should speak with your Diana Health provider one-on-one to determine which treatment is best for you and your needs.
Hormone therapy is not the only treatment for menopause, though! There are numerous natural, lifestyle habits you can use to help treat your menopause symptoms.
No matter your current age, learning about menopause can help prepare you for the years ahead. If you’re already going through menopause, we hope this has shed some light on what is happening with your body and what you can expect for the future. If you’d like to speak with one of our providers about your current symptoms, book a visit with us today!