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Learning to Love Menopause

One in six Canadian women, which represents 2.7 million, will reach menopause over the next decade.(1) Menopause is the time in most women's lives when menstrual periods stop permanently due to the cessation of ovary function. The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. The time leading up to menopause is referred to as perimenopause and may last anywhere from four to eight years. This transition period begins with changes in the length of time between periods, changes in estrogen and progesterone production and a decrease in the number of stored eggs in the ovaries. Perimenopause ends one year after the final menstrual period. Most women experience menopause between ages 40 and 58 with the average age being 51,(2) but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s.

Menopause is a natural biological process and each woman’s experience of menopause is different. Although it ends fertility, you can stay healthy, vital and sexual post menopause. This stage of life is a natural opportunity to focus on you. However, fluctuating hormone levels leading up to and during menopause may cause a variety of symptoms such as irregular periods, night sweats, hot flashes, fatigue, aches and pains, a change in sexual desire, changes to skin texture and appearance, bladder control difficulty, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, mood swings or memory loss. Some women experience difficulties during this time, while others may be symptom-free.

Regardless of which symptoms you experience, if any, there are hormone-based and non-hormonal ways to help you manage this period of transition. It’s time to make your well-being your number one priority so you can enjoy this new stage of life. Growing evidence suggests a healthy lifestyle helps counter some of the health issues that arise with menopause and perimenopause. This means it is important to pay attention to diet, exercise, weight and stress management, as well, it is important to limit your consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine. There are also herbal remedies that may help with the management of some symptoms. Talk to your healthcare professional to learn more about the various hormonal and non-hormonal therapies available. You may want to ask about hormone testing, herbal remedies, essential oils, lifestyle changes, and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) which can all play a role in managing menopausal symptoms.

References:

1. Population Projections for Provinces and Territories, 2001 - 2026, Canada, 2001 - 2051, Statistics Canada.

2. "Menopause 101". A primer for the perimenopausal. The North American Menopause Society. Retrieved 05 July 2017.