Menopause is not a disease, for most women it is a natural event, and all women will go through menopause. It is the end of fertility and ovarian function due to decrease in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Menopause is confirmed 12 months after the last period and in North America the average age is 52 years.
Hormone fluctuations may start in the early 40s and cause physical, psychological, and emotional changes. This time leading up to menopause is called perimenopause and it may last several years.The time after menopause is postmenopause. For some women menopause isn’t a natural event it is induced menopause caused by medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, or procedures that damage or remove the ovaries. Women who experience induced menopause often have more severe symptoms than women who have natural menopause.
Each woman experiences menopause differently and not all women are bothered by it, but the majority are affected to some extent.
Estrogen has many receptors, meaning it plays a role, in several tissues and organs in the human body, like the uterus, ovaries, bone, brain, breasts, vagina, and vulva, musculature of the pelvic floor, urethra, bladder, heart, and liver and when it fluctuates and declines during the menopause transition, it is responsible for many experiences.
Most people know that hot flashes and night sweats are common with menopause, but women may have experiences that they may not recognize as related to the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause, like:
Irregular menstrual periods, heavier or lighter, shorter or longer, absent, spotting:
Urinary incontinence, such as peeing when coughing or laughing, urgency, having to go right way, frequent bladder infections (UTIs):
Vaginal dryness, itching, pain with sex, bleeding during intercourse;
Low sex drive;
Fatigue, lack of energy,
Headaches , joint pain;
Irritability, heart palpitations;
Difficulty concentrating and memory problems;
Dry and itchy skin;
Weight gain, especially around the middle;
Mood swings, anxiety, and even depression
Many women are unprepared for menopause and suffer in silence believing they are the only one and there’s no relief. It doesn’t have to be that way. Women should have adequate information and understanding about menopause to empower them to make decisions regarding their care.
Menopause is not a disease but it affects women experiencing it—and their partners, children, family, friends, and colleagues.
The potential impact of this important life event should be taken more seriously and should be talked about openly.
Menopause shouldn’t be taboo.
Let’s talk about menopause!
Teresa is a Trailblazer in the Toronto West branch of Happy Healthy Women. She provides one-on-one consultations, in person and online, offering support and care, evidence-based, and accurate information, to enable women to make informed choices about the management of their menopause.
To learn more about Teresa Isabel and her work visit: https://menopaused.org/en/
Contact by email Teresa@menopaused.org