Females experience many physical and hormonal changes in their lives, beginning at a young age and through postmenopause much later in life. Each change represents a different phase in a woman’s life and produces different symptoms and health consequences.
Perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause are different phases of menopause. Menopause is set in motion by the decrease in hormones, specifically estrogen. There are distinct ways to differentiate between the stages.
The Phases of Menopause
- Perimenopause – This stage comes before menopause and lasts up to 10 years. Typically, this phase begins at around age 40. This phase is complete when you have gone 12 months without a period.
- Menopause – This phase occurs when you no longer have a period for a consecutive 12 months. You can no longer conceive in this phase because your ovaries no longer produce eggs.
- Postmenopause – After menopause, you are in the postmenopausal period. It is the final phase and lasts the rest of your life.
There are typical symptoms that occur in the perimenopausal stage. These include physical and mental health changes. Some physical changes are irregular and more intense premenstrual syndrome symptoms, vaginal dryness, urine leakage, breast tenderness, and decreased sex drive. You may also experience depression, mood changes and fatigue.
Hot flashes, night sweats and difficulty sleeping also occur during this time. Many women like to know what do hot flashes feel like. As the name indicates, it is a sudden warmth in the upper body felt most in the face, neck and chest.
Many women continue to experience some or all of the perimenopausal symptoms during this phase. Additional signs of menopause include concentration difficulty, hair loss and thinning, racing heartbeat, weight gain and muscle and joint achiness.
You can expect similar or the same symptoms in the postmenopause phase as in the menopause phase. However, the symptoms may decrease or go away completely. Unfortunately, once in this stage, you are more at risk for developing ailments such as heart disease and osteoporosis. The increased risk is due to the decrease in estrogen during this time.
Postmenopausal Health Risks
- Osteoporosis – Bone loss can increase rapidly during this stage causing up to 25% loss of your bone density. This loss increases your risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Bone densitometry is a test to help determine calcium loss in specific parts of your bone. To help strengthen your bones, increase your calcium intake through diet and supplements when needed.
- Cardiovascular Disease – The risk of heart disease increases due to women becoming more sedentary during this phase in combination with the decrease in estrogen levels. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can combat this issue. Quitting bad habits such as cigarette smoking is something else you can do to help prevent this.
- Vaginal Atrophy – The drop in estrogen levels causes vaginal dryness and can negatively impact the urinary tract and bladder.
- Mental Health Issues – Moodiness, depression and anxiety can occur during this time for many reasons. Issues are sometimes related to stress and other changes in your life during this time. But sometimes mental health issues develop due to hormone changes. It is critical to seek help for these issues to remain mentally healthy.
This change of life is inevitable for every woman. The symptoms may vary from woman to woman, but most women experience some of these issues. Healthy eating habits, exercise and supplements are always helpful. Check out the equelle side effects to see if this will work for you.