Menopause is a natural, normal process. For many women, it can feel mysterious — because we don’t talk a lot about it. Suddenly your cycle starts getting irregular, you can’t sleep and you’re sweaty, moody and gaining weight. There is no “talk” like the one had with young women before their first period, so it’s no wonder that menopause often comes as a shock.
Menopause means your last period or the cessation of ovarian function. The average age for women to experience it is 51. Here are some important things to know about menopause.
Common symptoms and signs your body is changing
In the years approaching menopause, known as perimenopause, it’s typical to have irregular periods or very heavy periods occurring more than once a month. Other common symptoms include insomnia, weight gain, night sweats and a decrease in sex drive. You are considered in menopause when you have gone period-free for one year.
Not everyone will experience all these symptoms, and some will be more severe than others. A common symptom associated with menopause is hot flashes, but many women won’t experience those at all.
How long do menopause symptoms last?
Menopause means your ovaries are no longer producing hormones, and that lasts the rest of your life. Symptoms may last between three and 10 years after your last period and will vary in severity.
When should you call your doctor?
Call your doctor if your symptoms are negatively affecting your quality of life. Some examples might be a low sex drive putting a strain on your relationship or poor sleep, causing daytime fatigue at work.
There are ways to be proactive, so you experience fewer symptoms, such as exercising, eating a healthy plant-based diet and only drinking alcohol in moderation.
Treatment through hormone therapy
Hormone therapy can be an option for women looking to relieve their specific symptoms. Roper St. Francis Healthcare tailors’ therapy to a woman’s individual needs. Someone with irregular periods doesn’t need the same therapy as someone who can’t sleep.
As your health needs change, we’re here to support you through every stage. Your doctor can help determine if natural (bio-identical) or synthetic hormones could be an option for you. If you need a doctor, please call (843) 402-CARE.