If you’re a woman in your forties or older, you may be experiencing issues that signal the approach of menopause, or the impending end of your menstrual cycle. Everyone experiences these bodily changes differently; however, there are several commonalities that are likely.
With age, a woman’s production of estrogen and her ovarian function start to decline. These changes gradually bring about menopause, which is simply the cessation of menstruation for a period of at least one year. It is typically around the age of 40 that this process begins to accelerate, and women will start to notice some cognitive and physical changes happen. The actual age in which menstruation ends will vary. Some women report the end of the menstrual cycle as early as 40, while others may not experience it until they reach 60 or later.
Stages and Symptoms
Menopause usually happens across three stages. The first is perimenopause, which generally occurs around age 40. Periods may become irregular in flow, with cycles of inconsistent lengths. Hot flashes may begin during this stage. Cognitive issues such as forgetfulness or brain fog along with emotional symptoms like mood swings are frequently noted by women in this stage.
The second or main stage is the actual menopause, in which menstrual cycles stop completely. This doesn’t officially occur until you have gone at least one year without a period. Hot flashes continue during this time, as well as symptoms like vaginal dryness, problems with sleep and continued mood swings. Lower sex drive is yet another symptom. Women enter the third stage, post-menopause, on the anniversary date of their last menstrual cycle.
Ways to Address the Symptoms
Eating well and cutting down on smoking and alcohol consumption can help to lessen overall symptoms and improve your health. While there aren’t always triggers, things like spicy food and caffeine can bring on hot flashes for some. Hormone therapy is a popular medical approach that can help to relieve some menopausal symptoms. MonaLisa Touch® treatments are another common treatment.
Menopause and the time leading up to it can be difficult due to hormonal changes in the body. When you work with the team at the Fort Worth Center for Pelvic Medicine, we can determine the best course of action to relieve the signs and symptoms of menopause in your particular case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Fort Worth.