When you hear the word “menopause”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most women, menopause conjures up thoughts of no longer having a monthly period, aging, and having to deal with very unpleasant symptoms. While all of this is true, you would be amazed at how many women are not aware that menopause is not simply one phase but actually several phases. In this article, we will go through the list of each of these, teaching women about understanding each stage of menopause, what it means, and how it affects the body and mind.
Remember that understanding these stages means being educated about what is occurring within the body. Armed with this knowledge, women can make wise decisions that are best for their specific body and lifestyle. Therefore, we strongly believe that the best form of treatment when it comes to menopause is knowledge.
Far too often, women do not have a complete understanding of what the change of life means, which is a real shame because all women owe it to themselves to be the best they can be, regardless of age or circumstance.
Understanding Each Stage of Menopause
The first stage of menopause is called pre-menopause. During this phase, the woman’s monthly menstrual cycle will begin to fluctuate. She may notice her period is lighter one month and then extra heavy the next. She may even skip an entire month or have more than one period within the same month.
As you can imagine, hormones during this phase are all over the place, leading to the start of menopause symptoms. While some women might go into pre-menopause in their early 30’s, the average age is around 38 to 42. Keep in mind that people will interchange “pre-menopause” with “perimenopause”, the next phase, although each is distinct.
Now, perimenopause is the next stage of menopause, which affects women differently. This phase usually begins in the mid to late 40’s to early to mid 50’s, lasting anywhere from two to ten years. At this time, the body’s ovaries gradually stop producing eggs.
In addition, the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone also begins to diminish. The woman’s monthly cycle will still be inconsistent and now the more intense symptoms begin. For instance, the woman will become irritable, moody, and depressed.
She will also start to have trouble falling asleep or waking numerous times during the night, she will experience hot flashes, night sweats, headaches and joint pain, and much more. As you can imagine, this phase can be difficult if not managed well.
The next stage of menopause is when the woman goes into actual menopause, which means she has gone without a monthly period for twelve consecutive months. At this time, the woman is no longer able to become pregnant and some of the earlier symptoms will start to let up.
After this, the next state of menopause is post-menopause whereby the final period is over. Generally, all of the dreaded symptoms will disappear within one to two years and the woman can begin the rest of her life. Keep in mind that because no more hormones are being produced, the woman is at greater risk for certain health problems to include some cancers, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and others.
Because of this, hormone replacement therapy, estrogen replacement therapy, or herbal remedies are needed to help the woman through this part of her life.