Basics: Menopause 101

What your mother and doctor did not tell you about menopause:

There is little doubt that the physical changes that occur after menopause are often unexpected and challenging to many women. I have often heard : “no one told me that this was going to happen”. Many of our mothers grew up in an age when menstrual cycles, menopause, and sex were topics that were never discussed.

It is time to talk about it, understand our bodies and physiologic changes, and utilize the tools to manage the changes, stay healthy and physically active, enjoy sex, and know when it is time to seek medical advice.

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What is perimenopause, menopause,and postmenopause?

Peri-menopause would be described as the years prior to the last menstrual cycle, when changes in cycles are noted. Menopause is the day after your last menstrual cycle and continues the rest of your life. The age of natural menopause is 40-58. Many women think that menopause means the years when you go through the changes in your menstrual cycle, but that is really not correct. Your are either in menopause, or before. Menopause actually means that ovarian function is depleted, and therefore your estrogen level declines to very low levels.

Interesting numbers:

Six thousand US women go through menopause every day!! You are not alone. There are about 50 million women in the US who are in menopause. Today, a 50 year old women can expect to live to her mid-80's. You can expect to live about 1/3 of your life in menopause.

Women are born with 1-2 million follicles or eggs. During a reproductive lifetime, only about 500 are ovulated. What happens to the rest? They go through a process called atresia, or natural loss of cells. This process occurs more rapidly as a women approaches menopause. At menopause, the eggs or ova, are depleted. Estrogen production in the female is mostly produced by these eggs. The production of estrogen greatly declines at menopause, which is the cause of many symptoms.

Don't despair:

When you know what to expect, you can make the changes that can decrease the negatives. Read on.........