The Stages of Menopause

Women don’t usually think about menopause until early symptoms start to appear. Menopause is not a malady or sickness. There is no reason to feel old or less of a woman when these changes start to take place. Menopause is a normal part of life for every woman, and every woman will experience menopause differently. Some women barely notice the change, while other women have numerous uncomfortable symptoms.

The Beginning Stages of Menopause

The stage before menopause is called “peri-menopause.” During this time, hormone fluctuations can cause numerous symptoms. These symptoms are the same as those who are well into menopause. Some of these peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms are similar to menstrual symptoms: weight gain, tender breasts, mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and bloating. Other symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause are confusion, nervousness, joint stiffness, joint pain, hot flashes, intestinal gas, incontinence, and a lack of sexual desire. The good news is, women going through the beginning stages of menopause never experience all of those uncomfortable symptoms.

Most women can expect to experience a disturbance in menstrual periods. If menstrual periods were normally like clockwork, hormonal fluctuations during peri-menopause will begin to disturb the internal clock of menstruation. Messages sent to the brain by confused hormones become desultory and cause menstruation to become somewhat erratic. Periods often occur closer together, and they are often heavier and last beyond the usual duration. Everyone is unique, so each person will experience varying degrees of peri-menopausal symptoms.

Controlling Symptoms

There are steps women can take to relieve the discomfort of peri-menopause. They are healthy and completely natural ways of controlling the symptoms associated with peri-menopause. Diet plays a big part in controlling symptoms. Women suffering from peri-menopausal symptoms should eat a diet low in refined sugar and salt, and high in complex carbohydrates.

When the body becomes dehydrated, it will hold on to water, thus increasing swelling and bloating. To avoid dehydration, women with peri-menopausal symptoms should be sure to drink at least eight full glasses of water per day. Caffeine and alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation, because they will worsen peri-menopausal symptoms including moodiness and tender breasts.

Regular exercise is beneficial for everyone, but women suffering from peri-menopausal symptoms will discover that exercise improves the mood and reduces uncomfortable symptoms. Even getting out and walking 15 minutes a day is beneficial.

Menopause

The word “menopause” simply means menstruation stops. On average, a woman’s last menstrual period happens around age 51, but it can happen even later in life. On the other hand, there are normal healthy women who enter menopause in their 30’s.

During menopause, estrogen levels decrease considerably. Estrogen loss contributes to heart disease and bone loss. Being aware of these potential problems allows women going through menopause to ward off problems before they begin. Calcium supplements and a healthy well-balanced diet along with exercise can help prevent heart problems. Depending on the individual, the doctor might also prescribe bone-building prescription medication and estrogen. The health benefits must outweigh the risks before these regimens are usually implemented.

Post-Menopause

After a woman has gone a year without having a menstrual period, she is said to be “postmenopausal.” Women that have gone through menopause should embrace the positive side of not having a menstrual period. Obviously, there is no longer a chance of pregnancy, and menstrual periods are no longer a monthly inconvenience.

Even though a woman is no longer having menstrual periods, it’s important to continue having routine genealogical exams. After menopause, preventive exams are still necessary. Some cancers are more likely to occur after menopause. Education and prevention can help women in all stages of menopause lead longer, healthier lives.

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