Menopause is the process a woman goes through that causes her monthly periods to end. During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs and produce fewer female hormones. When it is over, she can no longer get pregnant naturally.

As women approach mid-life, estrogen levels start to fluctuate and then drop. Most women notice that their periods stop being predictable. They may become shorter, longer, heavier or lighter than usual, and the spacing between periods may change, until a woman starts to skip her periods altogether. Eventually, they will cease.

This condition is a normal part of the ageing process that women undergo, but its associated symptoms can vary greatly from woman to woman. As hormones change to accommodate normal menopausal changes, women may experience a wide range of complications, from insomnia to fatigue to headaches.

Who experiences menopause?

Menopause happens naturally to women at the end of their childbearing years, usually as they approach mid-life, when they stop ovulating and their bodies stop preparing for the possibility of bearing a child.

Menopause at a glance

Every woman is affected by menopause in some way – either they experience symptoms orother physical changes.

  • The average age of menopause is 51 years but you can enter menopause earlier.
  • Hormonal changes cause menopausal symptoms.
  • Most women will have some symptoms.
  • Most women have symptoms for 5 to 10 years.
  • Menopause occurs when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months.
  • Menopause is a natural part of life occurring at around age 51 years but can also happen for other reasons.

Women who undergo hysterectomy surgery may experience menopause sooner than they would have naturally. Regardless, any woman who is approaching the middle of life can expect hormonal changes to kick in soon and for the menopause process to start. If symptoms are especially difficult or hard to handle, it can be helpful to seek support from health care professionals.

Menopause Treatment

If you are struggling with common symptoms of menopause, you may wish to seek treatment. While these symptoms are usually not dangerous and are simply a part of the aging process for women, you may find that they are interrupting your daily life. If so, your doctor may be able to help with menopause treatment options.

Symptoms seen early in menopause, like hot flashes and mood swings, may need to be treated if they are interfering with a normal quality of life. Early in menopause, you and your doctor should discuss your first signs of menopause and whether you need to seek menopause treatments.

Lifestyle Changes with Menopause Treatment

Some of the symptoms of menopause are better treated through lifestyle changes. Exercise and a healthy diet with an adequate amount of calcium help lessen osteoporosis and heart disease risks. Other lifestyle changes to consider include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Lower alcohol consumption
  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days per week
  • Healthy weight management
  • Yearly mammogram
  • Stress management
Treatment Later in Menopause

Menopause treatment options change as you progress through the process. In later menopause, your goal for menopause treatments is less to manage outward symptoms, which are starting to lessen, and more a focus on preventing diseases, like heart disease and osteoporosis, that are more of a risk later in the process. A variety of medications can help with osteoporosis and bone loss problems, and some heart conditions can also be treated with medications.

Whether your goal is to lower your risk of future health problems or to improve your quality of life during the menopause process, a variety of menopause treatments exist. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for your specific needs.

Are you or someone you love experiencing difficult symptoms and side effects caused by menopause?

Has transitioning into this new season of life created complications? Perhaps it’s time to find a caring and professional health coach who can help. You can get through this experience comfortably, without significant struggle or discomfort.