CHANGE PRE­PARE FOR

MENOPAUSE. THE VERY PROSPECT CAN CAUSE ANX­I­ETY... BUT WE’VE GOT ALL THE FACTS YOU NEED TO MAN­AGE THE SYMP­TOMS AND NAV­I­GATE THE JOUR­NEY

Good Health (Australia) - - Be Informed -

It’s a nat­u­ral process, we’re told time and again, but for many women the menopausal years mean hav­ing to en­dure un­com­fort­able symp­toms while others seem to sail through them rel­a­tively un­scathed. This health­book aims to put you more at ease about the changes ahead or those you may al­ready be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. The more you know, the more likely you are to be able to man­age your symp­toms and grace­fully ac­cept the changes you’re al­ready go­ing through.

THE STAGES OF MENOPAUSE

Menopause doesn’t hap­pen overnight. In the years lead­ing up to the fi­nal pe­riod, there’s a lot go­ing on in the body. Nat­u­ral changes as­so­ci­ated with the age­ing process can cause all sorts of un­fa­mil­iar and some­times fright­en­ing symp­toms.

1 PERIMENOPAUSE

Hor­mone lev­els de­crease very grad­u­ally; you first en­ter a phase of your re­pro­duc­tive life known as perimenopause, when the body re­duces the amount of oe­stro­gen and eggs it pro­duces. This usu­ally starts in your 40s but can start as early as 30 and is a sign that menopause is on the way. It com­monly be­gins three to four years be­fore a woman en­ters menopause, but it may be as early as 10 years be­fore. The symp­toms of perimenopause may be­come more pro­nounced as you get closer to menopause.

2 MENOPAUSE

At about 51, your ovaries may stop re­leas­ing eggs and oe­stro­gen pro­duc­tion slows down con­sid­er­ably. The symp­toms ex­pe­ri­enced in perimenopause may con­tinue into menopause. The true def­i­ni­tion of menopause is when the ovaries are no longer mak­ing oe­stro­gen and other sex hor­mones and you have had no pe­ri­ods for 12 con­sec­u­tive months.

3 POSTMENOPAUSE

When you reach postmenopause, you will re­gain a sense of con­trol over your body. By then, your body will have al­ready learned how to func­tion with low lev­els of hor­mones. In most cases, the trou­bling symp­toms are sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced, even­tu­ally fad­ing en­tirely. A few women, how­ever, still ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms like hot flushes and vagi­nal dry­ness, even af­ter the to­tal ces­sa­tion of their pe­ri­ods. Smok­ing and drink­ing heav­ily as well as stress and med­i­cal fac­tors like can­cer treat­ments or gy­nae­co­log­i­cal surgery can mean women go through the menopause tran­si­tion ear­lier and with more dif­fi­culty than women who don’t. Some stud­ies also link Western di­ets, rich in hor­mone-treated foods, with de­layed postmenopause, pro­long­ing the du­ra­tion of symp­toms. To check if you’re in the postmenopause phase, your doc­tor may test lev­els of fol­li­cle stim­u­lat­ing hor­mone (FSH), which is usu­ally higher in postmenopause.

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