Menopause is an inevitable part of aging in women; but there are too many misconceptions regarding this process. Let’s separate the facts from the fiction.
“It is the beginning of the end”—this is possibly the biggest myth about menopause. While it does have its challenges, the process of menopause is not the monster it is often made out to be. Medically, menopause is defined as the end of the menstrual cycle in women, which is considered to have occurred in a woman after she experiences no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. Menopause usually affects women between the ages of 40-55 years. It is a natural biological process and it, in no way, means that you cannot have a long, healthy, and fulfilling life once you hit menopause. True, there are certain symptoms associated with this process that may cause discomfort, but effective treatment and lifestyle changes can help you control these symptoms and reduce the discomfort.
There is a lot of information on menopause that is freely-available, but unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around too. These myths about the condition add to the confusion and anxiety of women. These myths have been around for so long that most women have accepted them as the truth. However, you should know how to differentiate between the facts and the lies in order to deal with menopausal symptoms in an effective manner. Here are some common myths about menopause and the truth behind them.
Fact: The truth is that the exact age at which menopause starts varies for every woman. Usually, women tend to enter menopause between the ages of 40-55 years. However, some women start menopause as young as 36, while some might not hit it till 60+ years of age. The menopausal age of a woman can depend on several factors, heredity being one of them. Certain chronic health conditions can also have an effect on the menopausal age of a woman, while being obese might trigger an early menopause for some. In the United States, the average age of women beginning menopause is 51 years. At times, women don’t even realize that they have started experiencing menopausal symptoms several months prior to the onset of menopause. So you might be still getting your monthly periods, and yet experience symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, and unusual fatigue. This condition is known as perimenopause, which is the shift leading up to menopause. The perimenopause stage can last from just a few months to up to 13 years before the onset of menopause.
Fact: Although hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, it is certainly not the only or the first symptom of a woman starting menopause. In fact, around 20 percent of women don’t experience any hot flashes at all during menopause. The symptoms of menopause differ for each woman, and so it is not definite what the first symptoms of menopause will be for you. You might experience a whole range of symptoms that range from physical to emotional ones. The signs and symptoms that may mark the beginning of menopause include irregular periods, fatigue, depression, mood swings, anxiety, weight gain, forgetfulness, hair loss, cravings, and low libido.
Fact: While weight gain is part of menopause for several women, it is certainly not something that is uncontrollable. Many women feel that it is futile to fight weight gain during menopause, so they choose to not do anything about it. Weight gain becomes slightly more complex during menopause because as your body goes into perimenopause and menopause, your ovaries produce fewer hormones, thereby creating a hormonal imbalance at times. When this happens, your body might respond by trying to protect itself, and the usual methods are to store fat in areas such as the hips, waist, and thigh. This produces higher levels of estrogen, which in turn results in more fat production in your body. Although losing weight despite all these changes taking place in your body sounds almost impossible to achieve, it isn’t so. A well-balanced diet that is high in nutrition and low in carbohydrates can help balance your hormones, and work towards reducing weight. Also, the importance of regular exercise during menopause cannot be undermined; it will not only help you lose weight, but also keep you more fit, energized, and emotionally positive.
Discover top tips for a healthy body and mind with our weekly wellbeing newsletter.
Join our mailing list today.