Menopause is a stage that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Both physiological and hormonal changes characterize the process. Although everyone experiences it in different ways, there are a few facts that apply to all women. If you have any menopause symptoms that are affecting the quality of your life, consider seeking the help of Richard Strathmann OBGYN. The following are some essential facts about menopause.
1. You Can Still Get Pregnant
Even though menopause marks the end of your reproductive years, you can still get pregnant around that period. You may experience perimenopause four to eight years before actual menopause. During this period, your chances of conceiving drop significantly. However, some women manage to conceive and have full-term pregnancies. It is possible to conceive even after menopause. Modern reproductive technology has made it possible to preserve eggs and embryos and donate them in the future.
2. It is a Gradual Process
For most women, menopause is a process rather than a distinct point in time. It does not mean that the body is getting frail. As a woman grows older, their body starts to produce lower levels of progesterone and estrogen. They start to have their periods less regularly before they stop completely. The process usually begins in your 30s or 40s. Menopause may start about 12 months after your last period. The average age for reaching natural menopause is 51.
3. You are Likely to Experience Symptoms
Many women experience symptoms of menopause. Fortunately, they are manageable. The symptoms of menopause range from mild to severe and they include:
· Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
75% of menopausal women experience hot flashes. They are sensations of sudden heat that mostly affect the upper part of the body. Night sweats are the same as hot flashes, but they happen at night.
· Vaginal Dryness
Hormonal changes may cause vaginal dryness which results in pain and discomfort during sex
· Mood Swings
The fluctuating hormone levels may cause irritability, mood swings, depression, or anxiety
4. It Increases Your Risk of Osteoporosis
Menopause may affect your bone health and density. It leads to the decline of estrogen production, which in turn affects the level of calcium in your bones. It may increase your likelihood of getting osteoporosis and bone fractures. The problem can be severe in the first few years after your last period. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to keep your bones healthy. They include:
- Taking vitamin D supplements
- Eating calcium-rich foods
- Regular exercise with weight training as a part of your routine
- Stop smoking
5. Your Body Continues to Produce Hormones
Your body does not stop producing hormones after menopause. Even though the production of estrogen reduces, it does not stop. The hormone plays a vital role in many bodily functions. However, the estrogen stops coming from your ovaries.
In conclusion, menopause does not need to be scary. It is a normal process, and its symptoms are manageable. If you are experiencing any significant symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.