What Happens During Menopause?
Menopause occurs when a woman’s body begins to produce less reproductive hormones. This phase brings a lot of different symptoms that can be scary if you don’t know what to expect. If women prepare physically and mentally for this natural and necessary part of growing older, menopause symptoms may be reduced – and being informed may curb the fear and anxiety some women feel during this time.
At Relizen, we want to eliminate women’s fears by educating them about what happens in menopause so they can prepare for what’s to come.
Stages of Menopause
Menopause happens in three stages:
- Perimenopause leads up to menopause and is indicated by an irregular menstrual cycle. It usually occurs several years before a woman truly begins menopause (as early as in a person’s thirties). As some women get closer to menopause – such as one or two years away – they may notice some menopause symptoms but still occasionally menstruate. This is why some women feel that menopause lasts longer than expected and might refer to the perimenopause phase as menopause.
- Menopause is when a women no longer has a period. It means that the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and are producing a low amount of estrogen.
- Postmenopause begins when a woman has gone one year without a period and no longer experiences many menopause symptoms.
Sometimes, specific factors can induce premature menopause, which is defined as menopause before the age of 40. For example, a hysterectomy, radiation therapy, or a mental illness could cause premature menopause.
How can you tell when menopause will begin? This is hard to predict, as women enter menopause at a wide range of ages. However, the age when menopause begins can be hereditary, so use this as a clue of when to expect symptoms.
As you age, your egg supply diminishes in number and quality. Menopause begins when the ovaries no longer release an egg every month and you no longer have a monthly period. Since you’re producing less hormones, the changes in your body may seem surprising. These are some of the changes you may notice:
Speak with your doctor if you notice any irregular or alarming symptoms, such as sudden long or heavy periods with clotted blood. Since all women are unique, you can’t anticipate the severity or duration of these symptoms, so try to limit stress as symptoms appear.
Benefits of Menopause
No one likes to feel that they’re growing older, but since no one can avoid it, why not embrace it? It may be hard to see the silver lining. However, there are benefits to menopause, and having a positive mindset will help you overcome personal obstacles and reduce stress.
After you haven’t had periods for an entire year, you’ll no longer need to use birth control, and you can expect that you’ll no longer have to deal with menstruating again. This makes having a sex life simpler.
Menopause is a good reminder of the impermanence of life, which may seem negative at first but can really help you prioritize what’s important. This is a time to focus on yourself instead of mostly others.
Menopause is a great reason to kick unhealthy habits and start doing what makes your body feel good – like getting a massage! Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and making an effort to relieve stress (e.g., with meditation or yoga) will go a long way toward reducing menopause symptoms, and the positive effects will pour over into other areas of your life. Many women credit menopause as the impetus for leading a healthier lifestyle.
Just like other women-specific experiences, menopause is a great subject to bond with other women about. Sharing your thoughts with someone who understands what you’re going through can both help you through it and build your friendships.
Managing Menopause Symptoms
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise and a low-stress lifestyle, there are other things women can do to relieve menopause symptoms. Relizen is a safe, non-hormonal treatment that provides relief from hot flashes, mood swings and more. These treatments have been proven to reduce menopause symptoms in a clinical setting. Learn more about what you can do to manage menopause symptoms on our blog.