Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball? Imagine being able to tell if it's really going to rain instead of relying on the weather forecast, or predicting whether a fickle teenager still likes whatever we'd planned on cooking at the weekend? There are many things in life that are unpredictable, and some which follow such a clear path that it's almost like we're psychic, but where does menopause land on the scale of “no idea” to “absolutely certain”?
Well, we know that we can predict the age at which we'll start menopause with some degree of accuracy. The age our mothers started menopause is going to be pretty similar to ours, with a year of leeway either side, dependent on a few factors. We can't predict, however, whether we'll experience the same symptoms or even whether we'll experience the same severity of the ones we do.
Perimenopause is the period leading up to menopause, which marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. It is a normal part of aging, and typically occurs in women between their late 40s and mid-50s. During this time, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, causing fluctuations in hormones that can lead to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.
Perimenopause, lasts, on average, for four years. This means that women can expect to be entering perimenopause around four years before their personal predictive menopause date. Like all things, menopause, however, is not quite an exact science and some women can experience perimenopause symptoms for up to ten years before entering the next phase.
Menopause, on the other hand, is defined as the point when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months and is no longer able to become pregnant. This marks the end of the reproductive phase of a woman's life.
The transition from perimenopause to menopause can be a challenging time for many women, as they may experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Hot flashes: A hot flash is a sudden, intense feeling of heat that spreads over the face and body, often accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat.
- Night sweats: These are hot flashes that occur during sleep and can cause sweating, disrupted sleep, and feelings of fatigue during the day.
- Irregular periods: As hormone levels fluctuate during perimenopause, menstrual cycles may become irregular or even stop altogether.
- Mood swings: Hormonal changes during perimenopause can affect mood, causing irritability, anxiety, or depression.
- Vaginal dryness: Estrogen levels decline during perimenopause, which can cause vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual intercourse.
- Fatigue: Decreased levels of estrogen and disrupted sleep patterns can cause feelings of fatigue during the day.
Women experience some of the same symptoms during menopause and perimenopause, but these symptoms change throughout that time, with symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flushes becoming more of an issue later in life. Studies suggest that sleep problems and brain fog are worse in the earlier stages of perimenopause. It can be helpful, therefore, to know how these symptoms typically progress as we age as it gives us an insight into our personal progress from perimenopause to menopause.
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the exact timings of a woman’s menopause journey, but there are many signs to look out for (mood changes, thinning hair, irregular periods and brain fog are major indicators of perimenopause) and statistics can also guide us. The average age to start perimenopause is 47.5, with menopause occurring around age 51.
It is impossible to know that menopause has started until it has ended. While the average age of menopause is 51, there are many individual factors that affect this, so it is often more reliable to look at the family history for a clue to when a women will experience menopause.
When a woman reaches menopause, symptoms typically subside, although some women may continue to experience hot flashes and other symptoms for several years after the onset of menopause.
It is important to note that the timing and symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can vary greatly from woman to woman. Some women may experience minimal symptoms, while others may experience severe symptoms that affect their quality of life. Factors such as age, family history, lifestyle, and overall health can all play a role in determining the severity of symptoms and the timing of menopause.
The transition from perimenopause to menopause can be a difficult time for many women, but there are steps that can be taken to manage symptoms and maintain overall health and wellbeing. Some strategies that can help include:
- Eating a healthy diet: A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help provide the nutrients and energy needed to manage symptoms and maintain overall health.
- Staying active: Regular exercise, such as walking, yoga, or swimming, can help reduce hot flashes, improve mood, and boost energy levels.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can worsen hot flashes and other symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help reduce symptoms and improve overall health.
- Managing stress: Stress can exacerbate symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, so it is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques, mindfulness, or counselling.
- Treating vaginal dryness: Over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers can help relieve vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual intercourse. Hormonal therapy may also be recommended in some cases.
- Seeking medical support: Women who are experiencing severe symptoms or who have other health concerns should speak with their healthcare provider about treatment options, including hormonal therapy, lifestyle modifications, and alternative therapies.
The MenoShake has been designed to support every woman with symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. The MenoShake has been formulated to provide relief from the most troublesome symptoms of perimenopause, continuing to make life easier well into menopause and beyond. It’s important to be proactive not reactive, by making lifestyle tweaks and taking a high quality supplement such as The MenoShake, these changes can really help you to take control of your menopause journey.
Author: Samantha Williams