Destroy These Seven Myths About Your Menopause Symptoms
There’s a lot of information online and circulating among women about “The Change.” However, you can’t believe everything you read online or hear from your friends. It’s important to separate the information – facts – from misinformation – fiction. We rounded up some of the most persistent myths about menopause symptoms to explain why they’re fiction, not facts.
Myth #1: Menopause symptoms start at about age 50.
Reality Check: Menopause symptoms usually begin in a woman’s 40s, but could begin in her 30s. This phase is called Perimenopause. Menopause is defined as the time when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 straight months. The average age of menopause is actually 51 in the United States, but it can begin as early as 40 or as late as 60.
Myth #2: Everyone gets hot flashes.
Reality Check: Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, but not every woman experiences them. According to the North American Menopause Society, up to 75 percent of women experience hot flashes during menopause, and most will have them from a period of six months to two years.
Myth #3: Menopause kills your sex drive.
Reality Check: While some women experience sexual problems as a symptom and side effect of menopause, it’s possible to have a healthy sex life throughout menopause and beyond. Though, lower levels of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, which can make intercourse painful. Your doctor can help you explore options for treating vaginal dryness.
Myth #4: Weight gain is an inevitable symptom of menopause.
Reality Check: Studies have shown that weight gain is common in menopausal women due to fluctuating hormones, but that doesn’t mean you’re destined to watch the numbers on the scale climb higher and higher. Eating healthy and staying active can help you to maintain – or even lose – weight during menopause.
Myth #5: Very infrequent menstruation, a symptom of perimenopause, means women won’t get pregnant.
Reality Check: Many women think that the absence of menstruation for months at a time means they don’t need contraception. The truth is, until you’ve actually crossed the line from perimenopause to menopause and menstruation has completely stopped for twelve consecutive months – no more periods, period – there’s a chance you can get pregnant. Your doctor can help you confirm when it’s safe to ditch the contraception if you don’t want to risk it.
Myth #6: Mood swings and irritability aren’t real symptoms, they’re all in your head.
Reality Check: Mood swings are caused by the hormonal changes that start to occur in perimenopause and are not at all fictional. If you’ve had children and watched them go through adolescence, or remember what your own adolescence was like, you’ll know that hormonal changes can, indeed, cause moodiness – emotional ups and downs – as well as physical changes. It may be reassuring to think of menopause as adolescence in reverse. You got through those changing levels of hormones the first time around and you’ll get through them the second time, too!
Myth #7: Menopause is a sign that you’re becoming an old woman.
Reality Check: Menopause is a life change like any other, and all changes come with advantages and disadvantages. You may experience hot flashes and other menopause symptoms, but they are temporary. The saying “50 is the new 40” is really true, thanks to many advances in knowledge about biology and medicine over the past 50 years.
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, learn more about Relizen and talk to your doctor.