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Stages Of Menopause: When, How, And What To Do

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12th Dec 2022

Menopause is when a woman goes through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. The time before entering menopause is called perimenopause. This period can be recognized by changes in their cycle or some milder symptoms. Let’s look into the stages of menopause more closely and how you can alleviate some of the symptoms to make your life a bit easier. 


Three Stages of Menopause

Menopause is a natural occurrence and it is a sign of your menstruation ending. However, natural menopause is not caused by any type of medical treatment. The process of going through menopause has three stages.


Perimenopause (the transition)

This is the first stage of menopause and it can occur as early as eight to ten years before the actual menopause. This happens when your ovaries gradually start producing less estrogen, and it usually starts when a woman reaches the age of 40. This stage lasts up until menopause, the point when your ovaries stop producing and releasing eggs. Additionally, in the last couple of years of perimenopause, the production of estrogen additionally drops and the symptoms of menopause may start. 



Menopause is the stage in life when a woman stops having menstrual periods. At this stage, ovaries don’t release any more eggs and the production of estrogen is almost completely over. Officially, menopause is diagnosed when you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a period. And this is when all menopausal symptoms show up. 



This term describes the period after a woman hasn’t had periods for an entire year. During this stage, some symptoms of menopause may get better and less severe. However, some women do still experience symptoms of menopause for a decade or even longer. This is due to lower estrogen levels, and women in this stage are at a higher risk of some health conditions, including heart disease and osteoporosis. 


The Symptoms

Even at the earliest stages of menopause, women start feeling some of the symptoms. The most common symptoms of all three stages of menopause include:


  • Hot flashes - a sudden feeling of warmth in the entire body (vasomotor symptoms)
  • Vaginal dryness - could cause discomfort during sex
  • Night sweats - also known as cold flashes
  • Urinary urgency - the pressing need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Emotional changes - mood swings, irritability, mild depression
  • Difficulty sleeping - insomnia
  • Dry skin, eyes, and mouth
  • Tenderness in breasts
  • More uncomfortable or stronger PMS 
  • Irregular periods - heavier or lighter periods than usual


Some women may even experience some other symptoms that are not as common, including:


  • Headaches
  • Racing heart
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Changes in libido
  • Memory lapses and difficulty concentrating
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Weight gain


What causes all these symptoms are the changes in hormone levels that occur in the stages of menopause. Some women may experience intense symptoms, while others have mild ones. Additionally, not every woman will experience exactly the same symptoms as they transition to menopause. 


How to Help Your Body

Since menopause is a natural process, you may not even need any treatment. However, menopause is highly treatable and you can talk to your doctor about which treatment is best for you and your own process. There are two types of treatments you can get - hormonal and non-hormonal. 


Non-hormonal treatment

If your symptoms are more irritating than threatening you can undergo various non-hormonal treatments to help alleviate symptoms. For those uncomfortable symptoms, such as discomfort during sex, you can explore the option of vaginal dryness treatment that can help you rejuvenate the walls and even help with urinary urgency. Additionally, you can change your diet and lifestyle, stop smoking and simply eat nutrient-rich foods. You can start exercising, join support groups and even get some mild prescritpoin medication. 


Hormonal treatment

Since menopause triggers major hormonal changes, many women opt for hormonal treatment, too. You can undergo estrogen therapy where you take estrogen alone in a low dose. Additionally, you can opt for estrogen progesterone or Progestin Hormone Therapy. This is a combination therapy where you intake doses of estrogen and progesterone. 

Menopause is inevitable for women, but it doesn’t have to be stressful and harsh. No woman experiences the same symptoms, but there are ways to lessen their intensity and continue with your life undisturbed.