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Facing menopause

Menopause is the inevitable time which signals the end of your reproductive years. It is a key turning point in your life. During this time, your ovaries stop releasing eggs, which leads to a sharp decrease in progesterone and estrogen levels. These changes can happen gradually, and the age of menopause differs for everyone.

While the “official” transition into menopause is indicated by significant changes to your reproductive hormone levels, the shift may start gradually. Menopause is a normal process that affects all women, but not all women experience it at the same age.

  • The initial phase of menopause typically happens between the ages of 45 and 55, though some women may experience symptoms as early as their mid-30s or as late as their early 60s.

  • The duration of the change into menopause can range from 7 to 14 years.

  • Lifestyle factors, smoking, and genetics play a role in how the transition takes place.

  • The average age of menopause in the United States is 51 years old.

  • Medical conditions including surgery, autoimmune conditions, or cancer therapies can also affect the timing of menopause and cause symptoms to appear earlier.

  • Genetics plays a role, so you ask your female relatives when they went through menopause. That will give you some insight as to when you can start expecting changes.

Perimenopause, is the time when symptoms of menopause begin. This can begin several years before your periods stops completely. These symptoms may happen slowly, enough so that you question if what you are feeling is real.

The most common symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • Changes in your cycle, including changes in flow and frequency

  • Hot flashes

  • Night sweats

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Mood changes

These symptoms are caused by changes in hormone levels, mainly a decrease in estrogen production. Although you may not experience perimenopausal symptoms, many do, and sometimes the symptoms can affect your daily life.

The transition into menopause is not greatly discussed, thus you may feel alone in the way you are experiencing these changes. Additionally, they may be gradual and leave you feeling unclear about what or why they are happening. It is crucial to know that while perimenopause symptoms may cause discomfort, they are a natural part of the process.

If your symptoms become severe or disrupt daily life, there are various treatment options to consider, such as lifestyle changes, hormone replacement therapy, and non-hormonal medications.

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