Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles. For most women , it happens in your late 40s and early 50s. The average age is 51 years old in the United States. This is a natural biological process. Technically, you’ve entered menopause if you’ve not had your period in the last twelve months. Let’s take a look at the various causes of menopause and how you can take care of yourself during this time in your life.
What Causes Menopause?
Menopause happens when various hormones in the body drop as the ovaries stop producing eggs. Certain hormones, such as the follicle-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland stimulate the ovaries. With age, the ovaries become less responsive to these glands and cycles become shorter. Over time, the ovaries stop producing eggs altogether.
Premature menopause happens when the body enters menopause before the age of 40. A wide variety of causes, ranging from chemotherapy to hormonal issues can cause premature menopause. Premature menopause is very rare in developed countries. According to the Mayo Clinic and NIH, there are less than 200,000 cases per year in the United States. Premature menopause requires treatments like hormone replacement therapy to reduce the risk of other conditions, like osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Menopause
The time leading up to menopause are called “perimenopause.” You might notice irregular cycles, dryness, sweats, chills, and other uncomfortable symptoms. You might also notice weight gain, thinning hair, and a change in your breast size. These are normal, and part of the onset of menopause and your doctor can help address these symptoms.
Menopause does not happen overnight.. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, menopause can last around 7.4 years from the start of perimenopause. After the last period, symptoms can persist for around 4 to 4-½ years. In some instances, menopause can last longer, with the whole process of drawing down the reproductive system taking as long as a decade.
How To Take Care Of Yourself During Menopause
You should prioritise eating healthily when you start experiencing menopause. Diets that are low in salt and fats will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation are important to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Exercising regularly will help preserve bone strength. Reducing the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages will also maintain your health.
Regular health checks are important once you enter menopause. If you haven’t started getting mammograms annually when you reach the age of 40, now is the time to get one. This will help detect breast cancer early.
Scarlet, a menstrual health tonic, can also help you with the onset of menopause. With a blend of vitamins, which includes Vitamin D, minerals like calcium, and chasteberry, it can help you regulate your hormone levels.