When a woman goes through menopause, her body undergoes serious changes that can range from mildly noticeable to extremely disruptive. This phase usually occurs in a woman’s life between the ages of 35 and 45. Once a woman reaches menopause, the hormone changes in her body begin to disrupt her ability to ovulate. The most salient aspect of menopause for most women is that it results in their ability to no longer conceive children.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is technically defined as the moment that is exactly twelve months after a woman’s final menstrual cycle. The menopausal cycle is actually separated into three parts: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. Perimenopause is the time during which the body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.
How Does Estrogen Factor In?
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that play a critical role in women’s reproduction cycles. One primary function is to regulate the development and function of the uterus. Sometimes, these two hormones are out of balance. Signs of estrogen dominance are in some ways similar to symptoms brought on by menopause.
When perimenopause begins, the body’s estrogen production decreases. When this happens, there are changes to the menstrual cycle as the ovaries gradually stop making estrogen. While this is happening, the woman will occasionally miss her period. Other symptoms, while equally as noticeable, are more severe.
What Are Menopausal Symptoms?
Aside from changes to menstruation, menopause brings a host of other symptoms that can best be termed as disruptive. Among the most common are hot flashes and night sweats. These sorts of vasomotor symptoms occur when decreased estrogen levels cause a disruption to the body’s hypothalamus, which is its thermostat. Consequently, the body makes adjustments to heat up and cool down when it thinks it’s supposed to, though, in reality, it’s not. Night sweats are one of the things that cause poor sleep cycles for menopausal women.
Headaches, breast tenderness, dry skin and vaginal dryness are all symptoms of menopause, but not all symptoms are physical. There can also be emotional changes that bring about anxiety, stress and depression. A woman can also lose her desire for intercourse as changes to her libido occur. Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels cause serotonin production disruption, which leads to mood swings. Mood disorders can be common at this time and lack of sleep can worsen a mood.
What Relief Is There for Menopause?
Though the symptoms that come with menopause can be severe, there are ways to mitigate them. Exercise and other light kinesthetic activities like stretching and yoga are hugely impactful for weight loss, stress reduction and an overall improvement to a person’s quality of life.
Studies have shown that menopausal women who exercised consistently over time experienced significant improvement to their physical and mental health. Cardio, stretching, muscle strengthening and yoga and other relaxation techniques were all part of the exercise regimen. Studies have also shown that exercise can reduce stress, which is a symptom of menopause.
Experts say that relaxation techniques like breathing exercises can be a powerful tool against mood swings, stress and other menopausal mental load-related issues. For sleep issues, trying to control your environment is encouraged. If you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep, avoid screen time in the bedroom before bed. If you experience night sweats, keep a window open. If you get the chills, keep an extra shirt beside the bed.
Menopause marks perhaps the biggest transition in a woman’s life. It doesn’t differentiate between her private life and work life. Whereas in the past it might have been viewed as the gateway to a woman’s mature age, these days, it’s not viewed so dramatically. Despite the disruptive symptoms, there are so many ways to mitigate them, and so much support for women enduring menopause, that women are freer than ever to live their preferred lifestyle during this phase. Visit a health and wellness store today to get OTC menopausal relief that will help you feel better tomorrow.
Makeup Expert & Manicurists, Contributing Editor
Jessica is a writer who feels it is a job requirement to own every shade of nail polish. She thinks any bad day can be improved by a trip to Sephora–provided there aren’t 10 people giving themselves makeovers, in front of the new lipsticks.