What exactly is menopause?
Menopause in its true definition refers to the time when you have stopped having monthly periods. You are considered menopausal when you have gone at least twelve months without having a period. You may have several months without a period, and then start up again out of the blue during this time. The whole transitional phase may take as long as fifteen years to complete for some women and this is when you will experience some of many of the symptoms of menopause.
When should I expect to experience menopause?
Menopause is a long-term process that generally occurs during your forties, although some women may experience symptoms in their thirties and others in their fifties. This is known as peri-menopause and covers that long-term span when you will encounter various symptoms. During this time changes to the hormones estrogen and progestin trigger a variety of changes in your body. Each woman’s experience will be unique; some women have only a little discomfort while others undergo tremendous upheaval.
What symptoms of menopause should I look for?
You will start to notice the signs that your body feels ‘different’ and you may not feel your usual self. The following are the most common symptoms of menopause:
•Fatigue, often feeling tired for ‘no reason’ or having little energy
•Difficulty sleeping at night, noticeable changes in your sleeping habits
•Irregular periods, can also experience changes in flow and length
•Hot flashes and night sweats
•Feeling aches and pains with no apparent cause
•Weight gain, especially around the waist area or hips
•Lack of libido
•Mood swings, feeling more irritable or short-tempered than usual
•Hair and skin changes, often hair becomes dry and brittle, loss of skin elasticity
But I’m too busy for menopause! And I’m not ready! What can I do?
With today’s hectic lifestyles, this is likely the busiest time with women juggling careers, relationships, and taking on additional family responsibilities such as caring for aging parents. We just don’t have time for menopause! Plus we will never really be ready for it. But there are several options to help you cope with the symptoms of menopause. Consult with your doctor about traditional hormone replacement therapy, or discuss possible natural alternatives. It is also important to seek support from family and friends, maintain a healthy balanced diet and continue or begin an exercise routine. There are many ways to deal with your body’s changes that will help you through this challenging time in your life.
What should I tell my doctor?
If you find that your symptoms of menopause are interfering with your daily routine and disrupting your work and life balance, talk to your doctor about ways to cope. Keep track of what symptoms you have experienced and for how long, and let your doctor know if you notice an increase in symptoms have if they have become more difficult to manage.
In the past, menopause was considered as the end of a woman’s life. Today, it is a time of transformation that can lead to a time filled with new opportunities. Knowing the symptoms of menopause and understanding that they do not have to take over your life will make this a time for celebrating the new version of you.
For additional information, check out:
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You
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