When women enter their 40s and 50s, they experience many physical changes that can impact their daily lives. Women know that natural biological and reproductive changes are inevitable during this time of life, but these changes happen slowly and not universally by all women, so they can leave some women wondering if the changes they are experiencing are in fact menopause. We are here to help clarify what to expect and help you understand how to cope with these significant changes to the body.
A Closer Look
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her body stops producing enough hormones to continue reproduction functions, so she will no longer have a menstrual cycle. The true diagnosis of this condition begins when a woman has not experienced her menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
Menopause typically happens when a woman is in her 40s or 50s (the average age is 51), but there are instances where menopause is brought on by the hormonal changes that result from a hysterectomy and other external factors such as chemotherapy. Though it is usually diagnosed in one’s 40s or 50s, a condition known as perimenopause can start as early as a woman’s 30s and carries the same symptoms, but menstrual periods continue to occur.
Outward symptoms of the onset of menopause include a change in a woman’s menstrual cycle regularity (and eventually stopping altogether), weight gain, a decrease in bone density (or the onset of osteoporosis), vaginal dryness, night sweats, mood changes, thinning or dry hair, insomnia, incontinence, and hot flashes, among other symptoms. Some biochemical markers include changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Also, missing menstrual periods only to have them return and remain irregular for a short period of time is also a normal symptom of the onset of menopause. However, some of these symptoms can result from other health issues and could be misdiagnosed as menopause, which is why it is important for women to get a proper diagnosis.
Although there is no way to stop menopause, there are many options available to assuage the symptoms associated with these biological changes. Some options include hormone therapy, dietary changes to counteract weight gain, and more.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of menopause and believe you can benefit from learning more about the signs and treatments, make sure to talk to the experts at Premiere Center for Health and Wellness in Cincinnati. We are proud to address hormone health for women AND men. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more!