Menopause is when your ovaries simply stop producing eggs. Menstruation is initially irregular and then it finally stops. Perimenopause is the period before menopause and can last several years.
Menopause before the age of forty is considered to be premature menopause, but it’s not as uncommon as some might think. If you developed early, you’re more likely to go through it early. The average age is between 40 and 55.
Menopause Treatment Options:
Some people find using hormone replacement therapy helpful. The estrogen may help keep bones strong and protect against heart disease. On the other hand, there is evidence that it puts you at a higher risk of breast cancer. Lower doses are available, but if you decide to forgo hormone therapy, you may want to consider a calcium supplement.
Black cohosh is a natural herb that’s sometimes used for treating symptoms like hot flashes and anxiety. Some say it works and others don’t notice it doing a thing.
Symptoms of menopause can include:
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Problems with bladder control
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep problems
- Night sweats/hot flashes
- Low sex drive
Not all symptoms reported are necessarily from menopause. Forgetfulness and fatigue for example tend to be a symptom of aging in general. Taking care of yourself with proper diet and exercise will reduce the likelihood of developing severe symptoms. Exercising the mind is important for aging as well. There have been numerous studies that report that those who participate in continuous intellectual pursuits will at the very least delay the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but that’s another subject.
Menopause is a natural transition that every woman goes through; so don’t feel that you have to take medication. Unfortunately the present media hype of our culture has put a negative slant on aging and menopause when it should be something to celebrate. There are many people that exaggerate the horrors of menopause for their own best interest so that they can sell you some sort of treatment product. It is best to discuss the various options with your doctor before you decide whether or not you will take medication, hormones or herbal remedies.
It can be an exciting time of life for a woman and marks a positive new beginning for many. It can be an empowering relief not to have to worry about pregnancy or periods anymore and many women feel much more peaceful and content once they get through the transition.
I originally wrote this article for Suite101. It’s been rewritten here with slight revisions.