As women, we often think of menopause as that time when our bodies start to feel different. Our periods may become irregular and we may start to experience hot flashes and other symptoms. But what many people don’t realize is that menopause is not just a single event, it’s a process that happens over time.
The technical definition of menopause is the permanent end of a woman’s menstrual periods. It’s not officially menopause until a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. However, the years leading up to this point, known as perimenopause, can bring many changes to a woman’s body.
During perimenopause, which typically begins in a woman’s 40s or even 30s, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, begin to decline. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep troubles, mood changes, joint pain, brain fog, and weight gain. Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms, but many will experience at least some of them.
As perimenopause continues, hormone levels continue to decrease, and eventually, a woman’s menstrual cycle will stop. After 12 consecutive months, she is now considered to be in menopause. It’s important to note that even though a woman may be experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause, she can still become pregnant if her body is still releasing eggs and she is having periods.
Once a woman has officially reached menopause, she enters the post-menopausal phase. During this time, her body will continue to undergo changes, and it’s important to be proactive about monitoring her health, particularly in areas such as bone health, heart health, and breast health.
The transition from perimenopause to menopause is a complex process that affects every woman differently. It’s important for women to be informed about what to expect and to work closely with their healthcare provider to manage any symptoms they may be experiencing.
One of the ways that women can manage symptoms of menopause is through hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is a treatment that replaces some of the hormones that the body stops producing during menopause. It can help to alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Get started by clicking the link below to see if this is the right option for you.