7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Menopause

Posted April 30, 2022 by in Lifestyle
Crop woman putting panty liner in bag

It is estimated that six thousand women reach menopause each day around the world. This is a significant number but sadly many don’t know a lot about menopause. What exactly does it mean for a woman to reach menopause? At what age does this phase occur? What are the common signs? Well, this article explains everything you should know regarding menopause.

Unrecognizable woman putting sanitary napkin in bag

What is menopause?

Menopause is the stage 12 months after an aging woman has experienced her last period. This phase is preceded by the perimenopause stage. This is when a woman begins to experience irregular menstrual periods that last until the last menstrual period. The perimenopause stage begins about four to six years before menopause. After menopause kicks in, the next phase is known as the post-menopause stage.

Age when menopause occurs

For most women, menopause tends to occur between the age of 45 years and 55 years. In the US, the average age of reaching menopause is 51 years. That said, in some rare instances when some women reach menopause before 45. This can be caused by issues like ovaries that stop working, cancer treatments, surgeries to remove the ovaries, and the like.

What causes menopause?

Again, it is a biological phase in a woman’s reproductive life. Biologically speaking, it happens when the ovaries stop producing high estrogen and progesterone hormones. These hormones play a crucial role in regulating the development and function of the uterus that allows for implantation. Progesterone mainly regulates the condition of the inner lining, also known as the endometrium of the uterus. When the ovaries no longer produce the hormone progesterone, the thickening of the uterine wall ceases, and hence menstruation stops, marking the beginning of menopause.

Testosterone hormones also drop at this stage. This often leads to stressing sexual symptoms such as low sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. Luckily, there are options like treatment with testosterone replacement therapy that can help replenish the depleting levels. Again, research shows that testosterone contributes to libido in women. It increases sexual arousal and orgasm as it increases dopamine levels. It also helps maintain normal metabolic function, muscle and bone strength, mood, and cognitive function.

The symptoms of menopause

It is worth noting that menopause doesn’t occur overnight. As noted earlier, it takes years leading up to menopause. This is why it is best to know the symptoms of menopause. Some of the symptoms you might experience leading up to menopause may include:

  • Vaginal dryness- This is usually a painful symptom of aging. It may result from decreased hormonal levels in the body.
  • Hot flashes feel like a sudden heat, sweating, and discomfort flare. Different people experience hot flashes in different intensities. Some people may notice, while for others, they remain mild.
  • Changes in sex drive– Again, it can lead to decreased hormones that affect the sex drive of many women. Hence, one may experience low sex drive or lack the urge.
  • Insomnia- Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, and waking earlier than desired. Insomnia may be short-term, which tends to last for a few days or weeks, or chronic insomnia, which may last for three weeks or more.

Hot flashes in aging women

The heat flashes that make the woman uncomfortable during menopause become pretty frequent in some instances. Hence, it is crucial to know the factors that trigger hot flashes and avoid them. Published research shows that spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking are some of the factors that contribute to the increased intensity of hot flashes. Other factors include wearing very tight clothes, hot weather, and stress and anxiety. When you experience any symptoms of menopause, it is essential to understand how best you can minimize the factors intensifying hot flashes.

Why sex might hurt as you age

Many aging women report low sex drive, painful sex, and lack of orgasms during menopause. Research shows that the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone hormones during menopause affects sex life. Additionally, vaginal dryness that the woman experiences during menopause contributes to painful sexual experiences. Again, the good news is that the situation can be remedied through hormonal therapy. Besides, women experiencing painful sex can use other remedies such as lubricants to minimize friction.

Can it affect mental health?

Research has shown that menopause can affect women’s mental health, as it causes mood swings, affects the sleep cycle, and causes tediousness. Besides, women are said to be increasingly depressed, which may also affect their concentration. Additionally, menopause sometimes causes anxiety due to the multiple biological changes that occur within a short period.

Menopause is a natural phase every woman undergoes as they age. The phase is preceded by perimenopause and followed by the post-menopause stage. As a woman, you should expect changes in your body, including added weight, mood swings, decreased hormonal levels, reduce sex drive, and more. It is crucial to understand the changes and seek help where you can to reduce the effects.