What to Expect During the First Stages of Menopause
Menopause is the process in which a middle-aged woman’s body begins to stop producing estrogen and progesterone while the ovaries shrink. At the end of menopause, a woman will no longer be able to conceive. Every woman will go through menopause in her life. The average age for menopause is 51, but some women can begin in their late 30s and others in their early 60s. However, most are 40 to 58.
There will be a short period lasting about three years called the premimenopause. During this time, a woman will experience irregular menstrual cycles and possible symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, elevated heart rate, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and urinary issues. During the first stages of menopause it is still possible to get pregnant, so if you want to avoid a pregnancy, talk to your gynecologist and see what type of birth control or hormone replacement therapy is best for you. Once you have not had a period for over a year, you know that you are out of the premenopause stage and fully into menopause. There will be no need for birth control after that time period has passed.
Once you move past the perimenopause stage and into the official first stages of menopause, you will experience much of the same symptoms as you did in perimenopause. Once you are in menopause, it will take about one to three years to complete the full process.
Many women might experience menopause earlier than others because of certain procedures. A Hysterectomy, which is when the uterus is completely removed and Oophorectomy, where the ovaries are removed will jumpstart menopause. A few women will experience Premature Ovarian Failure, which is when a woman has underactive or inactive ovaries, which could be caused by surgery, genetics or cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. It’s important to find a gynecologist who can give you the information you need regarding these procedures or to inquire about what options are available for those with ovary deficiencies.
Although there are many negative outlooks on the process of menopause, many women can find themselves relaxing at the fact that they no longer have to worry about unwanted pregnancies. After that first initial year, your menopausal systems will simmer down and you will start feeling like yourself again. This is a very important time to have a gynecologist that will help you maintain hormone balance after menopause.
Women’s health should never be compromised during every stage of life. Look for a local gynecologist who will help you through the first stages of menopause to the last.