ALL ABOUT MENOPAUSE
Menopause is defined as the cessation of menses for at least 12 consecutive months. It often occurs between ages 45 to 55 when there is inadequate production of hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Menopause marks the beginning of a new phase in a woman’s life.
What is PRE-Menopause?
Premenopause is when menses will still occur but the body is deficient in progesterone. This can start as early as the mid-30s. Symptoms may include fibroids, tender or lumpy breasts, endometriosis, PMS, difficulty conceiving, migraines or headaches, memory loss, foggy thinking, heavy or light periods, depression and irritability. These are often attributed to the lack of progesterone, which is needed to balance the strong effects of estrogen.
What is PERI-Menopause?
This is the transition before the onset of menopause, usually 3 to 5 years prior. A woman may still have menses, but her estrogen levels can swing from very high to extremely low, fluctuating so much that her cycle becomes erratic. This can lead to times when there is no bleeding, or other times of heavy bleeding accompanied by severe cramps. Generally, when estrogen levels are too high, a woman experiences enlarged and tender breasts, bloating and irritability. When estrogen levels plummet, she may have confused thinking, lack of concentration, memory difficulties and vaginal dryness.
What is POST-Menopause?
These are the years following menopause. During this time, a woman’s body settles into a lower estrogen state. Hormone production from the ovaries continues to decline and may eventually become non-existent.
What is Premature Menopause?
Some women may undergo full onset of menopause before the age of 40. Women at risk for this include those with inactive or removed ovaries, suppressed pituitary gland, or those with certain autoimmune diseases.