Even though all women will go through menopause in their lifetime, it is often a taboo topic. We get it; aging is hard to deal with– wrinkles, grey hair, and coming to terms that your womanly duties are ending. The truth is–– your duties will never be over. If you learn to embrace this part of your life and accept what's in store, you may see that menopause could be the best years yet. This life transition is filled with so much meaning and deserves to be celebrated.
This October 18, join women around the globe in celebrating World Menopause Day–– a day designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to raise awareness of the impacts of menopause, lend support, and share treatment options to improve health and well-being for middle-aged women and beyond. Despite affecting about half of the world's population, menopause isn't talked about as much as it should be. Observing WMD is also an opportunity to encourage conversations and further medical research on the condition to shed light on how to deal with raging hormones, mood swings, and severe hot flashes. This year's theme for World Menopause Day 2022 is Cognition and Mood, something all women can relate to.
What is menopause, and what are the common symptoms?
Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and the cessation of ovarian function. Menopause can happen anytime in your 40s or 50s, with the average starting age at 51 in the US. During this time, physical changes occur as your body adapts to different levels of hormones, such as hot flashes, poor sleep, mood swings, and lower energy. FYI: These symptoms can start during perimenopause and continue post-menopause. You will know if you are going through it once your period has stopped for one year.
Some women may find symptoms mild, and some won't have symptoms at all, but for most women, it can be a nightmare. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your body's adjustment to these changes, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. All of these symptoms can result in an increase in anxiety and depression. After menopause, women are more at risk of developing conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis. Menopause is considered a condition; therefore, most treatments for menopause focus on symptomatic relief as it's a normal part of aging. Menopause is not a curable condition; however, there are plenty of ways to make dealing with the symptoms more tolerable.
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Sleep troubles
- Mood swings
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
- Brain fog: Conveniently known as, Menopause brain fog, these cognitive symptoms that occur right around menopause include difficulty remembering words and numbers, misplacing items, trouble concentrating, losing train of thought, and being more forgetful. Research shows that women's memory does, in fact, change at menopause, and "brain fog" is real and normal but should improve post-menopause.
Signs and symptoms, including changes in menstruation, can vary among women. You'll most likely experience some irregularity in your periods before they end; it is usually a gradual process. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. All of these symptoms can result in an increase in anxiety and depression and a decrease in quality of life. After menopause, women are more at risk of developing conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, and UTIs. We encourage post-menopausal women to test their vaginal pH regularly to ensure they are infection-free.
5 Important Facts About Menopause You Should Know
- Some women can experience menopause before age 40
- Menopause can increase the risk of diseases
- Sleeplessness is the most common symptom, but hot flashes are the biggest concern
- Menopause can last up to 10 years
- Women feel great after menopause
What are some ways to deal with menopause symptoms?
Although it sounds bleak, we promise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Research suggests that after menopause, women feel the best they ever have. Along with a number of lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, exercise, and limiting certain triggers, some medications, and health supplements can help ease symptoms. Hormone therapy might be something you want to talk to your doctor about as well.
Checkable offers numerous supplements that may provide relief from some of the menopause-related symptoms. Here are the best supplements to take at the onset of menopause and beyond.
- Collagen: Skin, hair, bones, joints, metabolism, gut, and brain health
- Melatonin: Sleep, anxiety, mood swings, bone loss
- Ashwagandha: Mood, stress, anxiety, inflammation, memory, sexual health
- Urinary tract supplements: UTI prevention and recovery
Questions to ask your doctor to prepare for menopause
You probably won't miss your monthly visitor, but once the hot flashes, moodiness, brain fog, and sleeplessness kick in, you may be ready to have a conversation with your doctor. It's time to get real answers to real questions about common symptoms that can help you maintain good health as you age. Menopause can be a confusing time for anyone, so it's important to know what to ask your healthcare provider in advance. Here are a few questions to start you off, and of course, add your own based on your needs.
- Could my symptoms be menopause?
- What tests do I need and why?
- What are my treatment options, and how can they help?
- Is a low sex drive normal?
- Sex is painful. What can I do to help?
- How long do menopause symptoms usually last?
- Do I still need birth control?
- What lifestyle changes can help?
- Does menopause put me at a higher risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, or other complications?
- Is my brain fog normal? What can I do to help it?
- If you have any other symptoms you are concerned about, list them out, and be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.
There are also plenty of resources out there for you to peruse at your convenience. Embrace this next chapter gracefully, and remember that you are not alone. Your symptoms are normal. This happens to every woman. You will overcome this. So, this October 18, gather with your girlfriends, enjoy a spa day, grab a coffee, have a party, go dancing, and celebrate being a woman. We encourage you to share on social media so everyone can join the conversation. Help make World Menopause Day on October 18 the best yet.