What is Menopause? Here are the Basics
First, it must be pointed out that every woman will experience menopause differently, therefore, it is impossible to find information in a ‘one fits all’ information packet. The site Women’s Health.gov has information on all stages that explain what menopause is as well as PDFs you can download.
Menopause is the name doctors give to the last period, while most people refer to the entire period surrounding this, or perimenopause, as menopause. It can continue from 45 or earlier until 55 or later. The reason the process starts is because the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Any change within the ovaries means a change in other processes such as the production of hormones. The body will have to learn to adjust to these changes and this takes time. A woman’s period will not just stop overnight, but the time between periods will become longer and longer. This transformational period is referred to as perimenopause. This stage can last from two to eight years. There are symptoms you can observe and your doctor can check your hormone levels, but there is not any definite “it is over’ test. If it has been a year since your last period, then that is generally considered the end.
There are a number of symptoms that determine the start of perimenopause, such as irregular periods, some difficulty sleeping… brought on by the infamous hot flashes. You may also experience vaginal and urinary problems. Now, you may be considered lucky if you do not experience any of this to any great extent, and this is possible. On the other end of the roster, there is someone who is experiencing what could be considered her own symptoms as well as yours! Mood swings, less interest in sex, as well as the start of osteoporosis. The Women’s Health site has a symptom tracker you can download in PDF format. Use it to make comments on what is happening, the intensity, what helps you feel better and also what questions you may want to ask your doctor. Some of the above symptoms can come about because of other reasons, so you must have them checked out as they occur.
To make your body stronger and more resilient during this time, there are steps you must take. This is a most critical time for following a good diet. You do not need as many calories, but you do need just as many nutrients as before. There are varying opinions on how much calcium is needed, but the need is stronger if you are someone who has not had a good intake of calcium during your younger years. Having a bone density test is critical at this point to determine your own particular needs. Medicare does cover these tests and other insurance companies do also, especially if the situation calls for it.
Exercise… now; when you may not really feel like it, exercise is critical. You do not have to go out and start training for a marathon, but you must make sure exercise is a part of your daily routine. Moving, not only helps your bones, but also your mood, heart and more. Try for a goal of 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise a week or at least one hour plus, of aerobic activity a week. There should also be some weight training to round off your exercise activity. Activities such as gardening can qualify easily.
Definitely stop smoking if you still indulge. Smoking upsets your health in many ways, including your bone strength.
Keep up with your gynecological health. Just because your period is stopping you are not to stop visiting your doctor for your female needs. Your primary doctor may be able to take care of any gynecological screenings.
Hormone therapy (HT) has received some negative press in recent years. Now, it is considered OK for a short period of time, but not to be done for long periods of time. Talk it over with your doctor. There are also more and more natural treatments available such as soy, phytoestrogens (herbal) as well as biodentical hormone therapy (BTH).
If you are interested in taking action to move your health to the next level, please apply for a complimentary ”Get Your Life Back” Strategy Session by filling out the contact form here (Please note – it doesn’t matter where you are in the world for you to benefit, as long as you have an internet connection or phone line).