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Everything you need to know about the 3 stages of Menopause

- 11 min read
written by Shield Connect

Menopause is the stage that marks the end of the biological cycle of a woman’s life. Her ovaries stop producing and delivering eggs, her body creates less estrogen and progesterone, and the monthly cycle becomes irregular, until eventually ending it altogether. The menopause stage can be divided into three stages as the women progress to … Continue reading “Everything you need to know about the 3 stages of Menopause”

Menopause is the stage that marks the end of the biological cycle of a woman’s life. Her ovaries stop producing and delivering eggs, her body creates less estrogen and progesterone, and the monthly cycle becomes irregular, until eventually ending it altogether. The menopause stage can be divided into three stages as the women progress to old age. The stages are perimenopause (when a lady’s body starts to change); menopause (when you haven’t gotten your periods for 12 continuous months); and postmenopause (for almost 24 months to three years your last period haven’t come, and eventually all the side effects start to die down

What is menopause?
Menopause is a phase in life when your monthly cycles of menstruation stop altogether. This marks the end of your regenerative or biological years. Menopause commonly happens in your 40s to mid-50s. However, some women may experience these symptoms early on in their lives if they have their ovaries removed due to some medical complications such as ovarian cancer, endometriosis, ovarian tumors, or cysts, among others.

Why does menopause occur?
Menopause can be of two types — one natural and the other brought about by medical procedure or another ailment. Natural menopause occurs when you are in your 40s or 50s and is considered as a part of aging. A woman is said to be in the natural menopause stage, when she has gone a year without periods or menstruation, without any medical procedure, disease, or medication such as overuse of hormonal contraception prevention, overactive thyroid, and so on, stopping her monthly cycle.

As you age, the biological cycle starts to slow down, and eventually it stops altogether. Your menstruation cycle starts when a girl reaches adolescence or teenage. As menopause approaches, the ovaries stop producing a hormone called estrogen. At the point when this happens, your monthly cycle begins to change. It becomes more irregular, sporadic and afterward, it stops. Physical changes can also occur as your body adjusts to these hormonal changes. The symptoms that you experience during each phase of menopause are all necessary for your body to acclimatize to them.

Before we delve deeper into the symptoms of menopause, let’s help you understand all the three stages of menopause:

Perimenopause is the phase where a woman’s body starts making changes from ovulation and monthly cycle toward menopause or permanent infertility.

Most women experience perimenopause at different ages. But usually, it occurs, when you are in your 40s. However, if you are in your 30s, you may begin seeing the signs of menopause. Your periods may get unpredictable — longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, or may start in less than 28 days or more than 30 days. You may also encounter menopause-like symptoms, for example, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, among others.

How long does perimenopause stage last?
The length of each stage of the menopause is different and can fluctuate in women. The normal length of perimenopause lasts about four years. A few women may just be in this phase for a couple of months, while for others this stage could last longer. If you have gone over a year without having a period, then you are in the menopausal stage. However, there are some medications or ailments that may affect your periods, in that case, it can be very difficult to assess which stage of the menopause you are in.

When you’ve experienced 12 successive months without your periods, you’ve arrived at menopause, and your perimenopause stage has finished. At the point when you have not had your periods for more than a year, you cannot get pregnant anymore.

Postmenopause is the final stage of menopause. During this time, a significant number of the side effects of menopause ease for most women; you may recover your energy and feel more and more as your mood swings are controlled. However, it also means that lower levels of estrogen could cause severe medical issues in postmenopausal women that may include osteoporosis, coronary illness, and vaginal dryness, and weak bladder.

What are the hormonal changes during menopause?
The most common change of “menopause” is when the ovaries no longer produce the hormones necessary for the body to produce eggs. The ovaries are the contraceptive organs that store eggs and deliver them into the fallopian tubes. They additionally produce the female hormones called estrogen and progesterone which is equivalent to testosterone. Together, these hormones regulate and control the menstruation cycle. Estrogen also impacts how the body utilizes calcium and maintains healthy cholesterol levels in the blood.

As menopause approaches, the ovaries no longer deliver eggs into the fallopian cylinders, and you’ll have your last monthly cycle.

Below we have discussed various symptoms a woman may experience during each phase of menopause:

Stage 1: Perimenopause:
The first phase of menopause is called perimenopause, which lasts for 3 to 5 years usually before full menopause happens. During this time, a woman experience a sudden drop in the estrogen and progesterone levels and she can experience below mentioned experiences:

● Anxiety
● Frequent fever
● Vaginal dryness
● Hot flashes
● Night sweats
● Quick heartbeat
● Urinary issues
● Panic attacks, and much more

During perimenopause, your period may become irregular and unpredictable. You may go months without periods and then suddenly you can start bleeding. although not all women may experience these symptoms.

Early-onset or premature perimenopause happens in a few women who experience symptoms of perimenopause in their 30s or early 40s, 1. The women may experience a perimenopause period for more than 5 years.

It is advisable to use conception prevention (contraception) for one entire year after your last period, as there are chances that you can get pregnant during perimenopause. However, before taking any medication you must consult your physician.

Stage 2: Menopause:
Menopause means not having your period for consecutive 12 months or more without any medical problems, medical procedure, or pregnancy. As of now, the ovaries have stopped making estrogen and progesterone.

During menopause, numerous women experience hot flashes and trouble keeping up an agreeable body heat level. Women suffering from night sweats find it difficult to rest along with other hormonal changes that can add to mood swings, depression, mental fogginess, and much more.

Stage 3: Postmenopause:
Regardless of these difficulties of menopause, women often find the post-menopause period to be an inspiring time in their lives. They may find that they can quit stressing over pregnancy, take care of themselves, and enjoy the rest of their lives without any limitation.

If you have gone an entire year without having a period, it means you are officially in postmenopause. Over the years, your hormones will subside, you’ll experience changes in mood and body. Hot blazes and other menopause symptoms will decrease eventually.

As you enter postmenopause, you must re-examine and re-evaluate your well being, you can use this time to talk to your general physician about health assessment and define a long-term medical goal. A decrease in estrogen level puts you at risk of heart diseases, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and other heart and bone issues.

In addition to all this, many women have complained about the below mentioned medical conditions:

● Diabetes
● Weak immune system
● Joint pain
● Hepatitis C
● Gout
● Vaginal dryness
● Gum infection, and much more.

You can decrease the effect of postmenopausal symptoms by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding medications that may aggregate these symptoms, liquor, smoke, moderate exercise, good nutritious diet and spending quality time with your loved ones.

Dealing with Your Menopause Symptoms without Hormones
Based on the seriousness of your symptoms, your medical history, and your physical well being, your doctor can guide you in dealing with your side effects of menopause through hormone treatment, medication, or changes in lifestyle. You ought to talk with your general physician or obstetrics and gynecologist, who can assess what stage of menopause you are at and help you with understanding the advantages and dangers of various medicines that can have on your condition.

Fortunately, you can find a way to decrease your menopausal symptoms without taking hormones:

● Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, heart issue, and others
● Try to quit smoking
● You must reduce and limit caffeine and liquor consumption
● Try to eat food and supplements that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D
● Get a lot of activity, try and move more
● You can also try Kegel works out to strengthen your pelvis
● Practice moderate breathing exercise to manage hot flashes
● Remain sexually active
● You can try yoga, judo, or others to maintain a healthy life
● Use water-based lubricants and oils during sex

If you are experiencing early symptoms of menopause like weakened bone or serious medical history of osteoporosis, you must talk to your family doctor or general physician, who can suggest some drugs that can help you in managing or stopping the symptoms from aggregating.

What is the correct data about HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms.

As the name suggests, HRT does what it says. The prescription drug replaces the hormones that are delivered by your ovaries. It is the absence of estrogen that causes side effects of the menopause, so by taking low estrogen pills you can improve your hormone levels, HRT reduces various symptoms of menopause that most ladies experience. Only low dose estrogen pills are indiacted for women who have had a hysterectomy, the surgery to remove the uterus, and for women who’ve had a bilateral oophorectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries).
The other option is combination therapy, since it combines doses of estrogen and progestin, the synthetic form of progesterone. It’s meant for women who still have their uterus. Taking estrogen with progesterone lowers the risk for cancer of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus.

HRT is the best type of therapy to help with the symptoms of the menopause. It both decreases side effects for the time being and ensures your wellbeing in the long term. It assists with delaying the symptoms associated with cardiovascular illness and osteoporosis and may protect you against dementia.

HRT additionally helps you keep up your sex drive and decrease vaginal dryness. HRT isn’t suggested for women with certain ailments, so always discuss this with your primary care physician.

Who Shouldn’t Take Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you have these conditions, you may want to avoid HRT:

• Blood clots
• Cancer (such as breast, uterine, or endometrial)
• Heart or liver disease
• Heart attack
• Known or suspected pregnancy
• Stroke

side effects of HRT ( not all woment will have all the side effects)

• Bloating
• Breast swelling or tenderness
• Headaches
• Mood changes
• Nausea
• Vaginal bleeding

Are there any different treatments to manage menopause?

Complementary and alternative therapies
Treatments, for example, aromatherapy, reflexology, yoga, and others can help ease the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats. They can also help in managing panic attacks, anxiety, and depression in some women.

Complementary and Herbal Therapies
Evening Primrose Oil Few studies have addressed that the evening primrose oil improves hot flushes.
Flaxseed, Ginseng may be tried for hot flashes
Phytoestrogens including Red Clover (Trifolium pratense )
A wide range of products containing plant or phytoestrogens, including soy products, are available as over the counter remedies for hot flushes.

For some women, undergoing any menopausal stage can be a difficult time. They could be managing adolescent kids, taking care of elder family members, changing or progressing in a career, or maybe all of the abovementioned.

Any stage of menopause can drain you of your energy and leave so little time for you to take care of yourself. In any case, during the menopause, self-care is really important. This is a period for women to focus on wellbeing, mind, and happiness.

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