The Marvel of Menopause
Menopause is a biological occurrence in a woman’s life that signals the end of her reproductive years. It marks the end of menstruation (monthly periods) where a woman has had no menstrual bleeding for 12 consecutive months.
The age at which menopause is reached varies according to each individual woman and her circumstances. Most woman are between the ages of 45-55, with the average age of menopause occurring at 51. However, some woman can reach menopause before or after this age.
Reaching menopause between 41 and 45 years of age is called early menopause, while premature menopause occurs before the age of 40. Premature menopause affects up to 1% of woman, usually resulting from premature ovarian insufficiency, or medical or surgical intervention, such as removal of the ovaries or required radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Natural menopause occurs when the body’s secretion of progesterone and oestrogen is reduced after the ovaries have stopped ovulating due to depletion of eggs. This prevents the lining of the uterus from building up and subsequently shedding (menstruation).
With the increase in life expectancy, a woman can spend a large part of their lives in a postmenopausal state therefore looking after your health during this transition is important.
If the genes fit
Every woman’s experience of menopause is different. But genetics can play a role in determining the timing of menopause, the symptoms, and severity. Ask your mother, grandmother, or any older sister about their menopausal experience, especially what symptoms affected them and what was the severity. This experience might be helpful and might give you some ideas of what to expect in your own menopause.
The expression of your genes is especially important and the state of your general health prior to this transitional phase, and can also influence your experience during perimenopause and menopause.
Preparing for the Pause
Perimenopause is the time leading into menopause when a woman’s hormones begin to change heading into menopause. As the egg production diminishes, the ovaries slow down their production of hormones, particularly oestrogen and progesterone. During this time, you may notice some changes in your menstrual cycle such as:
Perimenopausal is a process of hormonal change that can be as short as a few months or as long as 10 years, lasting around four years on average. Despite potentially feeling like your hormones are bouncing around erratically during this time, a series of hormonal events are taking place through this process. Oestrogen is high in relation to progesterone, but both will eventually decline. You may start to notice changes in your mood, sleep, libido and energy levels.
Over the course of perimenopause, hormones eventually fall to a point where the ovaries no longer produce eggs, periods stop, and menopause is reached. Perimenopause and the early years of menopause are important for long term health. It is during this sensitive state of physiological change and instability that underlying health conditions can be revealed and there is an increased risk of small health issues, amplifying into bigger ones later if left unaddressed. Making positive changes during this period could have long term future health benefits.
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.