9 facts to know about menopause

La salud de la mujer

by Dr. Robert Zwernemann

junio5,2024

Women lead very busy lives. They spend time caring for their children, spouses, aging parents and often everyone else but themselves. As an obstetrician and gynecologist (OBGYN), I play an important role in helping women transition from perimenopause to menopause and thrive in this new phase of life.

What is perimenopause?

The transition to menopause is a period called perimenopause. Perimenopause typically begins in the forties.

Perimenopausal symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Changes in menstrual flow
  • Sofocos
  • Sudores nocturnos
  • Cambios de humor
  • Sequedad vaginal

¿Qué es la menopausia?

Menopause is the point at which a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months, over the age of 40. At this point, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their hormones, primarily estrogen. Menopause typically occurs around the age of 50, although it can happen earlier or later for some women. Women may still experience symptoms of perimenopause, but these will fade over time.

9 essential menopause facts

1. Make a plan for menopause

Many women do not plan for menopause as they feel that it is inevitable and that they don’t have much control over it. There is great benefit in learning about this stage of life and making decisions that can keep you healthy and happy. From incorporating certain foods into your diet to changing up your exercise routine, planning for menopause can ease symptoms and make this transition much more comfortable.

2. The average age for American women starting menopause is 51

Often, I will ask women when they went through menopause and I get a variety of answers from, “I started in my 30s” to “I never went through menopause.” The majority of women will start menopause in their early 50s, but it may be earlier for others.

3. Menopause is more than just hot flashes

The biggest misconception of menopause is that it just involves hot flashes. For any women who say that they never went through menopause, they just did not experience debilitating hot flashes. The reality is that not all women experience significant hot flashes during their transition to menopause.

4. Menopause and hormone replacement therapy

Many women assume that they will have to start taking hormones once they enter menopause. Women are not automatically given hormone therapy but is usually only considered if you are experiencing severe menopausal symptoms such as severe hot flashes.

Hormone therapy can be extremely helpful in improving your quality of life. Not all women are candidates for hormone replacement treatment, or HRT, due to other factors. For example, women with a history of heart or breast conditions may be advised against using HRT. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy.

5. Menopause is linked to osteoporosis

Bone loss (a condition known as Osteoporosis) is an overlooked side effect of menopause. The thinning of the bones that occurs with menopause is usually not associated with symptoms, so many women are not aware of the extra care that is needed to help protect their bones.

For this reason, is it even more important for women to take an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D and adequate exercise to help protect their bones. Additionally, weight bearing exercise and bone density evaluations may be used.

6. There are many menopausal body changes

There are a variety of changes leading up to menopause including, but not limited to: changes in skin, joint pain or aches, and vaginal irritation. Trust me, you’re not alone in your symptoms or feelings of discomfort. Your OBGYN can provide a safe space to discuss your concerns if you don’t feel comfortable discussing with your primary care physician, friends or loved ones.

7. Mental health during menopause matters

Of course there will be changes with your body, but Salud mental can also be important to evaluate for women prior to menopause. Menopausal women have an increased risk for depression, or difficulty remembering things or concentrating. Hot flashes are more common at night and many menopausal women will suffer with difficulty sleeping. This lack of adequate sleep can also intensify mood symptoms and take a toll on your quality of life.

8. Risks of cardiovascular conditions increase after menopause

Enfermedad cardiovascular is the leading cause of death in women, and it is more common in women after menopause due to estrogen deficiency, increasing age or changing cholesterol levels, to name a few. During this stage of life, women can evaluate their habits and make necessary changes to improve their health.

Keep in mind, heart disease is more common in women over age 55, women who smoke, have high blood pressure, Diabetes, are overweight, or who have a family history of heart disease.

9. You and your OBGYN: A partner for menopause

Many menopausal women do not seek gynecologic care because they associate seeing a gynecologist with only their reproductive years. But an OBGYN can be a great resource and support for you during both perimenopause, menopause and beyond.

If you’re wondering about menopause, talking with your doctor is a great way to get the answers you need. Connect with an OBGYN near you.

Sobre el Autor

Robert Zwernemann, MD, is an obstetrician and gynecologist (OBGYN) on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center - Fort Worth..

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