This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp
Menopause is an extremely important transition in middle life that many people experience. But although almost everyone has heard of the term “menopause,” very few people understand what occurs during this time. Beyond the fact that menopause means that menstruation has ended, many people don’t know what else to experience during this time. This article will give you a thorough synopsis of what you can expect during menopause and how you can care for yourself during the transition to your golden years.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the period of life that begins about a year after a person stops having a period every month. It is a transition when the body prepares for the golden years of life. This occurs because the body stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When menopause starts, a person will no longer get periods, nor can they get pregnant.
Menopause typically occurs somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55, but this will depend on the person. It is also essential to know that menopause is not short or insignificant. This is a long-lasting phase, typically lasting an average of seven years but can be as long as fourteen years.
Symptoms Of Menopause
Though menopause doesn’t officially begin until a year after periods have stopped, there are many symptoms that can manifest a few years beforehand. The body takes time to make the necessary adjustments for menopause, so people who menstruate will begin to see these changes years before menopause begins. Some of the most common pre-menopause symptoms include:
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in menstruation; periods may be lighter or heavier than normal, not occur every month, or be shorter or longer
- Weight changes
These symptoms will continue when your body officially reaches menopause, except you won’t experience menstruation anymore. However, there are some other side effects and health concerns that arise during menopause that you should be aware of.
First of all, people in menopause often experience changes in sexual satisfaction and desire. Do not be ashamed if this occurs to you, as this is quite normal. However, if you experience any concerns about your sexual health, you should discuss them with a physician.
You may also experience changes in your mental health. Though some moodiness is normal, experiencing severe episodes of depression or anxiety is not. If you are experiencing any mood or mental health changes that give you concern, discuss your symptoms with a mental health professional for guidance and treatment.
Finally, you may experience some memory problems such as forgetfulness and confusion. Your body is going through a lot, so it is no surprise that the brain may be affected as well. A bit of spaciness, forgetfulness, and confusion is quite normal. However, once again, if you are experiencing any symptoms that are concerning, you should discuss them with a physician.
How To Care For Yourself During Menopause
Menopause may cause minor inconveniences or result in significant health concerns depending on the severity of your symptoms or accompanying conditions. No matter how menopause manifests for you, there are many ways to care for yourself at this time. Below are a few pointers to ensure you keep your health up during this critical transition.
- Talk to your doctor often: Your body will undergo significant changes throughout menopause. It is essential to talk to your doctor often to prevent and treat any other health concerns that might arise during this time. Therefore, you should see a doctor on a regular basis and take any preventative or recommended tests or physicals.
- Connect with your support network: Menopause can be a confusing or overwhelming time, depending on the severity of your symptoms. However, menopause is very normal, and many people will sympathize with what you are going through. Furthermore, you may experience mood swings, mental health concerns, or loneliness during this time. Reach out to your support network and loved ones so that you can receive emotional support and love.
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle: The best way to minimize symptoms and prevent additional health concerns is to take care of your body. Therefore, keep up your healthy lifestyle. Eat a nutritious diet, exercise often, and make sure to get plenty of sleep.
Menopause is an important transition that millions of people go through each year. Though it can seem scary, the fact is that this is just a normal phase that prepares your body for its golden years. However, it is still important to know what to expect and how to care for your body to ensure optimal health. Hopefully, this article gave you a good introduction to menopause to help you at the start of this important journey.
If you are interested in learning more about menopause and what you can expect during this transition, you can find further reading here.