Menopause is a phase in a woman's life that challenges her physically and emotionally.
Menopause is a phase in a woman’s life that challenges her physically and emotionally.

Menopause is a phase in a woman’s life that challenges her physically and emotionally. Many women deal with menopause without any medical treatments, whereas some women with severe symptoms require therapies. Here, are 15 things that women should know about menopause.

1. What is the difference between menopause, perimenopause, and postmenopause?

Menopause, perimenopause, and postmenopause are the stages in a woman’s life concerning the end of her reproductive years.

Menopause: To say that a woman has reached her menopause, her periods should not have occurred for at least 12 months after her last period. Menopause is the time after which her menstrual periods stop permanently, and she can no longer conceive.

Perimenopause (around menopause): The transition (or time) from the beginning of irregular menstrual periods to the last menstrual period is known as perimenopause. Perimenopause usually starts in a woman's mid- to late 40s and can last anywhere between one to four years before menopause strikes.

Postmenopause: The time after the woman reaches menopause is referred to as postmenopause.

2. At what age does menopause occur?

Menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age. In the United States, the average age of women experiencing menopause is 52 years. 

3. Why does menopause occur?

As women age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. Hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) that influence various systems in women’s bodies dropdown. The decrease in the levels of hormones gives rise to the symptoms of menopause.

4. What is premature menopause?

Menopause that occurs at 40 years or younger is considered premature menopause. This can occur due to surgeries of the reproductive system or as a side effect of medicines.

5. What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause can give rise to all or some of the following common symptoms in women:

6. What are hot flashes and things that trigger them?

Hot flashes are one of the most frequent symptoms of menopause. You can avoid the following factors that usually trigger them:

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7. Why does sex hurt after menopause?

Vaginal dryness can lead to discomfort or pain during sex. Use an over-the-counter lubricant jelly or talk to your doctor for some prescription medicines. 

8. What is the average weight gain during menopause?

Many women gain an average of five pounds after menopause. A healthy dietary pattern and physical activities can help you prevent weight gain.

9. Can menopause affect your heart?

Without estrogen, cholesterol may start accumulating on the artery walls leading to the heart. As a result, between ages 55 and 70 years, women are exposed to a higher risk of heart diseases than they had before menopause. 

10. Does menopause affect your bladder control?

Menopause can affect your bladder control and cause

11. What happens to the bones during menopause?

Bone mass gets decreased by an average of 25% from the time of menopause to age 60. This condition can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bones) that can be detected using a test known as bone mass densitometry (BMD). 

12. Does menopause affect mental health?

Menopause can affect women’s mental health by causing mood swings, and they can also make them

  • Depressed.
  • Anxious.
  • Unable to concentrate.
  • Forgetful.
  • Irritable.

13. Can menopause cause breast cancer?

Menopause itself does not cause breast cancer. It is aging that puts women at an increased risk of breast cancer. However, hormonal therapies of combined estrogen and progesterone that are given for treating menopausal symptoms can increase women’s breast cancer risk. 

14. What screenings are needed after menopause?

Menopause can give rise to other health conditions. Regular screenings can help you identify them at an early stage. These include:

15. How are menopausal symptoms treated?

After discussing with you, doctors can recommend any of the treatment options for you that include hormonal therapy and nonhormonal therapy. 

Hormonal therapy: 

Nonhormonal therapy: 

  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercises
  • Treatment of specific symptoms of menopause (as and when required)

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Medically Reviewed on 9/4/2020
References
Menopause. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/264088-overview

Menopause, Perimenopause, and Postmenopause. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15224-menopause-perimenopause-and-postmenopause

Menopause. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause