Confused About Menopause? You’re Not Alone

By on October 11, 2018

Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life, but sometimes this important milestone can be intimidating. Despite the inevitability of this experience, many women have more questions than answers when it comes to talking about menopause. 

During perimenopause (the pre-menopausal stage) and menopause itself, women experience significant changes in their hormone levels, resulting in symptoms such as hot flashes, which can disrupt their everyday lives. A recent study by Wakefield Research and Amberen, a menopause relief supplement, sought to uncover what women know (and don’t know) about the transition. 

Understanding the Basics

Did you know that menopause can last up to ten years? If not, you aren’t alone. Forty three percent of women surveyed didn’t know this potential duration, and 58 percent didn’t know the difference between perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

If you find yourself unsure, here are the facts:

  • Perimenopause can occur from a woman’s late 30s through her 50s, when her body is preparing for menopause. During this time, you may experience the beginnings of hormonal imbalance as a result of estrogen fluctuations. Menstrual cycles may shorten (or lengthen) and physical symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleeplessness can occur. 
  • Menopause officially starts after a woman has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months; a fact, fifty six percent of the women surveyed didn’t know. 
  • During postmenopause, hot flashes and other common symptoms diminish, however women in this stage should be aware that issues such as bone loss and heart disease can arise.

Speaking Up

Of the women surveyed, 73 percent believed their menopause symptoms occurred earlier than they realized or expected. With perimenopause beginning in some women as early as their late 30s, many women – including 35 percent of those surveyed – often don’t realize their symptoms may be related to perimenopause. 

Many women are nervous to talk to their doctor about menopause: 39 percent of those surveyed waited a year or more before speaking with their doctor about their symptoms. Early identification can make it easier to manage menopause, therefore it’s best to create an open dialogue with your doctor as soon as symptoms emerge.

Managing Your Menopause

Sleep disruptions are highly common among menopausal women, with 94 percent reporting that menopause symptoms affected their ability to sleep through the night. Among the same group, 63 percent said they experienced sleep disruptions an average of four or more nights per week. In these situations, women should consult their doctor about establishing a sleep routine and consider using cooling pillows to ease night sweats. 

If you’re struggling through menopause, you’re not the only one living in discomfort: 93 percent of menopausal women have faced difficulty managing their symptoms. However, when it comes to taking action, supplements are not the first thing that comes to mind, as 69 percent of those surveyed don’t fully understand how menopause supplements can help. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to ease symptoms, and women are encouraged to learn about all available options, including those over the counter.

Some women find relief using herbal remedies, while others take the herb-free route. It’s a deeply personal choice. Although many herbal supplements can help manage menopausal symptoms, many don’t address hormonal imbalance – the root cause of the problem. There are also supplements that naturally restore hormonal balance, offering relief and allowing women to manage symptoms more effectively. 

Healthy diet and regular exercise can also impact menopause. Avoiding common symptom triggers such as caffeine, smoking, alcohol (particularly red wine), and sugars can help ease some symptoms. Stress levels can be decreased by walking, practicing yoga and meditation.

The most important thing to remember is that this natural stage of life can be empowering. By the time women enter perimenopause, they should not keep themselves in the dark by failing to ask the right questions or ignoring critical symptoms. Instead, they can take control of their life by learning what to expect before it happens.

This article is written by Holly DuBrey, a registered nurse for Amberen NurseAid. Holly spends her days speaking directly with women who call NurseAid to learn more about Amberen, menopause and how to manage their symptoms. 

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Confused About Menopause? You’re Not Alone