Menopause is a milestone most women don’t look forward to. Changes in weight, mood, sleep, and other parts of their lifestyle can become greatly affected. Learn what to look for, and what supplements to take as you head into your change of life. Menopause happens. Don’t let it stop you from living your best life.
What is Menopause?
Women are born with a certain set number of eggs in their ovaries, and every woman is different. Eventually, those eggs run out; which is the short-story, cause and effect of menopause. No eggs, no more need for ovulation. And, voila; no more periods.
Once your period has been absent for 12 months, you’re considered to be in menopause. The average age for menstruation cessation is 51. However, that’s not set in stone as some women go into menopause early, while others will continue to menstruate well into their 60s.
Although many treat menopause as if it’s a disease, it isn’t. It’s a natural process women go through.
Signs of Menopause
Certain signs leading up to menopause give many women reason to pause and wonder what’s happening to them. Since the experience is different for every woman, it can be challenging to know if menopause is on the horizon, or if what’s going on is a glitch in your system. Keep a note of what you’re experiencing, as it could potentially be something other than menopause and you may need to see your doctor.
Signs that you’re in perimenopause:
- Heavier than normal menstruation
- Periods coming closer together
- Period duration lasting either longer or shorter than usual
- Vaginal dryness
- Intense mood swings similar to PMS
- Lower sex drive due to a decrease in estrogen
- Urine leakage when sneezing, laughing or coughing
- Trouble sleeping
Perimenopause symptoms can start when you’re in your 30s, or up to two years before going into menopause. Similar to menopause, perimenopause is different for everyone. Normally, it is diagnosed through a blood test that measures your hormone levels. Your gynecologist or internist will usually order the blood test, or series of tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Causes of Menopause
Menopause is defined as “the change a woman goes through either before or after her period ends, marking the completion of her reproductive period”. However, despite menopause being a natural process, it can sometimes happen due to circumstances other than the regular aging cycle.
The natural menopause cycle begins as perimenopause, leading to menopause, ending in postmenopause. However, for many women, for one reason or another, they may go through premature menopause.
Premature menopause can occur in women due to:
- Premature ovarian failure: This results from the ovaries failing to release eggs. There is no known reason, yet it is not always permanent.
- Induced menopause (Hysterectomy): Many reasons are necessitating the removal of ovaries such as cancer or endometriosis. When ovaries are removed, it causes the woman to go into menopause. Also, medications for certain conditions can throw the woman into induced menopause.
- Autoimmune disorders: Thyroid issues and rheumatoid arthritis are just two of many autoimmune disorders that could cause premature menopause.
- Genetics: If the women in your family have a history of going through menopause early, then chances are great that you will, too.
- Chromosome defects: Defects that don’t allow the ovaries to develop properly, such as Turner’s Syndrome, cause premature menopause.
What Are The Symptoms of Menopause?
Not all women experience menopause the same way. Some may be affected by multiple symptoms, while others sail right through it without breaking a sweat. There are many symptoms and side effects associated with menopause. Many are similar to perimenopause, while others are unique to your menopause.
Some of the most common menopause complaints are:
- Hot flashes (flushes)
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Memory issues
- Change in sex drive
How Long Does Menopause Last?
As mentioned earlier, there are three stages to menopause. Once you complete those, and you have had no period for 12 months, you are out of menopause.
- Perimenopause: This is the first stage of menopause, which can begin in your 30s. This is sort of the transition stage where your body starts preparing for menopause. This begins an average of 8 to 10 years before menopause. Your body may not be producing as much estrogen, yet pregnancy is still possible. When you’re in perimenopause, it can last a few months to a few years.
- Menopause: Your body is barely producing estrogen anymore. Therefore, eggs are no longer being released, and periods are no longer active. Once you’ve gone one year, or 12 months, without having a period, you are considered to be in menopause. The average for symptom duration is 7.4 years from your last period.
- Post-menopause: You’re now making very little estrogen, and you haven’t had a period in one year. Many of your menopause symptoms have ceased at this point. Because of the low estrogen, you’re at greater risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, and vaginal dryness.
What Helps Women With Menopause?
There is no one-size-fits-all menopause, and the same can be said for menopause symptom relief. Many women swear by a simple lifestyle change, while others incorporate supplements and medication into their daily routine.
Vitamins and minerals that help treat symptoms of menopause:
- Genistein: An estrogen-like compound found in plants. GeniVida® is a non-soy based genistein used in Tespo’s Menopause Formula. Clinical trials showed this supplement can reduce the intensity of hot flashes by up to 50%. It is also proven to support bone health by maintaining bone mineral density.
- Green Tea Extract: The natural caffeine found in green tea can help with mental alertness, as well as reducing water retention due to diuretic properties.
- Vitamin D3: Your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium. Vitamin D also can help your body regulate its temperature more efficiently, as well as keep joint pain to a minimum.
- Vitamin K1: Women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass during menopause. Vitamin K1 can reduce the risk of bone fractures, which becomes more prevalent in women as they age.
- Calcium: As estrogen declines, so does your body’s ability to make calcium. By incorporating calcium you will offset the natural depletion brought on by menopause and aging.
- Black Cohosh: This is one of the most studied, and has been shown to help for hot flashes. It is made from the root of a North American black cohosh plant. It’s to be avoided if you have any type of liver problems.
- Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed is helpful for more of the mild symptoms associated with menopause. It is shown to help balance hormones.
- Red Clover: This plants natural estrogen may ease some of the symptoms. Talk to your doctor before using red clover.
- Wild Yam: Some women turn to wild yam as an alternative to hormones. It can be found as a pill or cream, and its compounds are similar to estrogen and progesterone. It has mixed results.
- Ginseng: The properties in ginseng are excellent for digestive issues, and may help with emotional wellbeing, too. Results are inconclusive when it comes to using ginseng to help with hot flashes.
- St. John’s Wort: Many people with depression use St. John’s Wort as a mood-boosting supplement. When combined with Black Cohosh, this may be helpful for women dealing with menopause symptoms.
- Dong Quai: This is a popular herb used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Always check with your doctor before using this potent herb because there are risks of cancer associated with it.
- Evening Primrose Oil: The benefits of evening primrose oil is that it can alleviate moodiness and hot flashes. However, do not take it if you’re at risk for blood clots. There are many potential side effects with evening primrose oil, so be sure to check with your doctor if you’re thinking of taking this supplement.
It’s a good idea to discuss treatment options, along with taking vitamins and supplements with your doctor. Most supplements do have side effects, and you need to make sure that medicines you’re taking don’t negatively interact with the supplements.
Read about our Menopause Pod
A more personalized approach to vitamins can help target menopause related issues, as well as other areas of nutritional gaps.
Some other things you can do to offset those menopause symptoms are:
- Exercise– Yoga, kickboxing, and walking are just some of the many different exercises women and medical professionals swear by. Just staying active will keep your joints limber and your spirit uplifted. Using weights for exercise is good for healthy bones.
- Diet– It’s easier to put on weight when you’re in menopause. Eating a well-balanced diet that’s lower in fat and higher in fiber can help manage weight-related issues. Eat more protein, fruits, and veggies. Avoid too much sugar, and potentially coffee.
- Sleep– A good night’s sleep may be hard to come by when going through menopause. Many women stick to a sleep schedule of bedtime and waking up, and claim it’s been helpful.
- Hydrate– Drinking 8-12 glasses of water per day can help with the dryness that comes with menopause. It can also reduce bloating, also part of the menopause side effects.
Treatments For Menopause
Because menopause isn’t a medical condition, there isn’t a need for any type of medical intervention. However, very often, it’s the side effects of menopause that women seek relief from.
Some of the typical treatments for menopause are:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Estrogen is used to treat common symptoms brought on by menopause such as hot flashes, bone loss, and osteoporosis. If started within five years of the onset of symptoms, estrogen may also reduce the risk of heart attacks.
- Vaginal estrogen: Estrogen in the form of cream, tablets, or a ring is placed inside the vagina. This should alleviate dryness, and allow for better intercourse. It also can relieve issues relating to the bladder that are common during menopause.
- Osteoporosis prevention: Medication to preserve bone density, and prevent more loss. It is usually received through a prescription from your doctor.
- Antidepressants: In low doses, certain antidepressants help with hot flashes. They are especially beneficial for women who can’t take hormones.
When To See A Doctor
On its own, menopause is no cause for alarm. However, if scheduling regular doctor appointments will give you comfort, then definitely do it. It’s your body, and it’s always best to know what is going on with it when you can’t figure it out on your own.
Around the time of menopause, doctors may have you going in for routine colonoscopies, mammograms, and blood tests to measure your markers. It’s helpful to them, and you, to have insight into what’s happening inside your body.
There are a few things to watch out for during menopause, and if they happen you need to talk to your doctor:
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Painful intercourse
- Any health-related issues causing you alarm
Don’t Let Menopause Stop You!
Menopause can cause a multitude of discomforts for a woman. And, it can last an average of 10 years. While it’s just one of those facts of life the majority of women face, it doesn’t have to cause an inconvenience. With all the various vitamins and supplements available, you don’t need to go at it alone. Tespo’s Menopause Formula will be there to help ease those symptoms so you can keep on living your best life.
For further reading about menopause:
WebMD What’s Menopause video
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