When do most women experience menopause?
The normal age for menopause is considered to be 45 to 55 years old, so it's a wide range. We consider it premature menopause if it happens before age 40. So age 40 to 45 is a limbo stage in which it isn't considered normal, but it isn't considered abnormally early either to go through menopause. Most women will begin menopause in their late 40s or early 50s. The beginning of menopause is a process called perimenopause, which typically begins two to 10 years before actual menopause. After years of symptoms, most women will reach menopause around 50.
What is menopause?
Menopause is different for each woman, and the severity/frequency of symptoms is different for each woman as well. Menopause is a natural biological process ending fertility that every woman will go through in her life. It is a natural process with treatments that focus on systematic relief. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how a woman’s experience of menopause will be. The timing of menopause for each woman is different, but there are signs to let a woman know that menopause is approaching. Hormone fluctuations that occur as the body prepares itself for menopause are often the cause of symptoms.
Symptoms of menopause
The first symptoms of menopause can vary from woman to woman, but usually include the following:
- Irregular periods, or changes in menstruation are usually one of the first obvious signs that a woman is approaching menopause.
- Hot flashes are also a very common symptom for women approaching menopause. They are the sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads throughout the body, creating a flushing or redness that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper body. Hot flashes are often very sudden and uncomfortable for women going through them.
- Another symptom a woman can experience during menopause are night sweats, also known as “sleep hyperhidrosis.” Night sweats aren’t so much a sleep disorder, but rather a perspiration disorder that affects your rest and can present itself as a menopause symptom. Women may also deal with menopausal mood swings, which are incredibly common, but can be extremely difficult to cope with.
- Vaginal dryness is a symptom of menopause that can cause extreme discomfort for a woman. This is caused by the drop in estrogen levels, and the vaginal tissue becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic.
- Other symptoms of menopause can include lack of energy, back pain, interrupted sleeping patterns, and lower sexual drive.
Treating symptoms of menopause
While symptoms do vary from woman to woman, many women struggle with the changes that come with menopause. There is no specific treatment for menopause, but rather treatments to help a woman cope with her symptoms. Menopause is a natural change that can potentially begin earlier in women who smoke. At the physiological level, menopause happens because of a decrease in the ovaries' production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and while it is not typically needed, a diagnosis in menopause can be confirmed by measuring hormone levels in the blood of urine. Many physicians recommend that women regularly exercise, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress to alleviate some of the symptoms that come along with menopause.
Since symptoms of menopause can be difficult to cope with, we encourage women to seek professional help during this time.