One thing I have found when working with my peri menopausal clients, is a lot of women don’t really understand what is happening to their bodies and this can make them feel confused. Menopause isn’t something we are taught about and although things are getting better, it isn’t something which is openly discussed.
So, what is the menopause?
The true definition of menopause is when a woman has not had a period for 12 months and they are no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
As part of the normal menstrual cycle the ovaries release an egg each month but as we age our ovaries begin to run out of eggs. Put very simply, the menopause results when the ovaries stop producing eggs, which causes the ovaries to significantly reduce the production of hormones linked with the menstrual cycle, causing the periods to stop.
The average age in the UK for the menopause is 51. However, symptoms of the peri menopause (the menopause transition) can start up to 10 years before this. The average length of the menopausal transition is around 4 years.
Women who go through the menopause at younger than 45 are considered to have gone through an early menopause. If the menopause occurs before the age of 40 it is classed as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) and it is important to go to the GP to discuss it.
And what about the peri menopause?
The peri menopause starts on average at the age of 45 and is considered the transition into menopause. During the peri menopause there is a progressive reduction in the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, resulting eventually in periods ceasing. However, during this time there are massive fluctuations in these hormones which are often the cause of common symptoms such as hot flushes. Periods are still present during the peri menopause but the cycle length may change becoming shorter or longer and bleeding may become lighter or heavier and some periods may be missed altogether.
There are numerous symptoms which may present themselves largely caused by the hormonal fluctuations such as hot flushes, fatigue, poor memory, loss of concentration, anxiety and insomnia. Check out this resource to monitor symptoms associated to the menopause. https://menopausesupport.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/MENOPAUSE-SYMPTOM-CHECKER-Nov-20.pdf
So now you have a basic understanding of what is going on in your body during the menopause transition, my message is don’t panic! Menopause is a completely natural life stage and different for each woman. Some sail through it with no problems and others can really struggle but there are things that can be done to help symptoms including managing stress, managing sleep, dietary interventions, balancing blood sugar and improving gut health. There are multiple factors which can affect this transition and I will be covering many of these and giving lots of tips for dealing with symptoms in my upcoming blogs. I also work on a one-to-one basis giving personalised plans to women to help them move through their peri menopause with ease and confidence, so do get in touch. Have a great day!