Let me share with you FAQs about menopause. Have you ever noticed that women easily talk about pregnancies, birth, husbands, kids, and the like but when it comes to menopause mum’s the word? So where can you get your questions answered? I’m happy to report, here, at this blog, I do my best to answer the most common questions I get when it comes to FAQs about menopause. If you don’t see your question answered here, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help. Donna@donnaAcupuncture.com
At what age will I go through menopause?
The average age of menopause onset is 51 years old. Between the ages of 45 and 55, the majority of women will experience changes in their periods. Changes can include skipping periods as well as more frequent, shorter cycles. After 12 months of having no period, you are officially diagnosed with menopause. From that point, you are considered post-menopausal. While the majority experience menopause in their 50s, several factors can trigger earlier menopause. These are usually caused by family genetics, but smoking, surgery, and chemotherapy can also hasten ovarian decline, which leads to earlier menopause.
What are menopausal symptoms?
Menopause affects every woman differently. Some women may not notice any symptoms at all, while others may believe they are experiencing every symptom of menopause. Some women will have heavier and more painful experiences while others will have less intense encounters. Some symptoms may last for a few months while others may last several years. This is primarily because all our bodies react to the changes in hormones differently. Some of the most common menopausal symptoms include:
- Irregular period timings
- Hot flashes and chills
- Sleeping problems or insomnia
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in sexual libido
- Mood shifts
- Weight gain
- Joint aches and pain
Is it a hot flush or something else?
Hot flashes or flushes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause for all women. These are also one of the more troubling menopausal symptoms as can be really uncomfortable. Hot flashes affect the upper half of your body and your skin may start to appear red as a result. They can last form 1-4 minutes. Sweating, heart palpitations, and dizziness may occur as a result of the sudden increase in temperature. After the heat, chills may appear as your body experiences extreme temperature shifts. Hot flashes might happen once a day or several times a day. They can also happen over a year or even several years.
Heat is often caused by some trigger that sets it off. Pay attention to what yours may be. Here are some to consider:
- consuming alcohol or caffeine
- eating spicy food
- feeling stressed and anxious
- being in a hot environment
Everything you read about hot flashes is to dress in layers. It does help to be able to easily remove layers in public. It’s been years since I’ve been able to wear a long sleeve sweater. When you’re in the midst of your heat, you have a choice in how you react. You can get mad and upset or you can use a little cognitive behavior training and coach yourself into a better place. When you feel the heat building, tell yourself to breathe deeply, relax, this will be over in just a few moments. For the longest time, I would get a hot flash at 3pm every day. I started laughing when I would feel warm as I knew it was 3pm without looking at a clock! I called mine, warm surges. And honestly, they weren’t all that bad.
What’s up with the weight gain?
It sucks. Your body will change. Getting into a good place with that reality is my best advice. Most women gain between 1-8 pounds over the menopausal process. As you age, your muscles decrease, and fat increases. Fat also helps your body produce estrogen. You need to keep your body moving daily and eat smaller portions of highly nutritious foods. You cannot waste calories on eating crap. When you gain weight around your middle, it’s visceral fat. That’s the kind of fat that surrounds your organs and is really unhealthy. If your BMI is over 25 and your belly (measure just below the naval) is over 35″ then you most likely have visceral fat.
You may have a sudden increase in weight as a result of changes in your hormone levels, specifically declining estrogen levels. As estrogen levels drop, many women develop fat mass since estrogen affects your body’s fat distribution. But several other significant factors need to be considered. Aging, muscular tissue loss, poor diet, and a lack of exercise are also major contributors to weight increase during menopause.
To help you regulate your weight, focus on eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthy activities. Chew your food thoroughly, eat slowly, only eat when you’re really hungry and take a digestive enzyme to help get all the nutrients out of your food and into your cells. If you need help with this, send me an email. I have lots of supportive options for you. Donna@donnaAcupunctutre.com
How does menopause affect my bone health?
The amount of calcium in your bones is affected by a decrease in estrogen production. This can lead to major losses in bone density, which can result in osteoporosis, a disorder that occurs when bones become very weak. Although this is a very serious problem, there are a lot of simple solutions women can do to stop this from happening. Exercising regularly with weight training is a great way to keep your bones strong. It is also recommended to take vitamin D supplements and have a good diet that provides a lot of calcium, such as dairy products. Lastly, avoid smoking and consuming alcohol as these weaken your bones as well. If you’d like some help with supplements, I’ve got some great options, just email me.
Does menopause increase the risk of heart disease?
Yes. Women are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disorders after menopause, such as heart attacks and strokes but it is not entirely due to menopause itself. Although reduced estrogen levels can affect blood flow and make it difficult for your body to maintain flexible arteries, several other contributing factors have to be taken into account.
Aging is also one of the leading contributors to increased heart disease. As you are getting older, you are also more likely to gain weight and acquire other health issues, which raise your risk of cardiovascular disease. The best course of action is to inquire with your doctor about vital tests such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Get your baseline readings done and always have a healthy diet. Something a doctor will never tell you is cholesterol increases with menopause as well as thyroid issues. Statins, drugs that block cholesterol production in the body, do not help women to prevent heart disease. If you need help reading your labs from a functional medicine perspective, please email me. I offer a service to review your labs and make recommendations of supplements and lifestyle changes.
How will menopause affect my sex drive?
Sexual function issues are normal for all women that go through menopause. Problems with sexual attraction, arousal, orgasm function, and pain are among the common effects experienced by women going through menopause.
Low estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal dryness, which can lead to pain during sex. Women may then realize that they no longer initiate intercourse because they are afraid of the pain. If sex is painful, there are several options. I’ve got a great suppository that helps rebuild the vaginal lining which thins with hormonal changes during menopause.
Menopause doesn’t have to be a hot, horrible mess. I’ve been there and I can help you. Let’s talk.