What is menopause?
Menopause, "the change of life," is when you have not had a menstrual period for 1 year. Some women stop menstruating in their mid-40s, others in their mid-50s, but the average age is about 50.
Medical procedures that remove or damage both ovaries or the uterus (hysterectomy).
What changes and symptoms should you expect — and when? Here are the usual stages, although your experience may vary from this:
|Age||Changes and symptoms|
|Mid-30s to mid-40s|
|Mid-40s to late 40s|
|Late 40s to mid-50s|
|Mid-50s and beyond|
The whole process of menopause can take several years to complete.
Enjoy a healthy sex life
The changes during menopause may make enjoying a healthy sex life challenging, but they don't mean the end of your sex life. Learn how you can keep your sex life lively.
Menopause and health risks
Along with the changes to your menstrual cycle, there are other changes to your body, too. As you experience menopause:
- your metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories, slows down and your body fat increases. You may gain weight if you don't take steps to prevent it.
- your weight may move toward your stomach and midsection. You may also lose muscle, which supports bones and joints and keeps your body looking firm.
- you may lose strength and density in your bones. Bone loss is greatest within the first 5 to 7 years after menopause and is a major reason for falls and fractures. An injury from falling can make you less active and lead to a lower quality of life.
- your risk of serious health conditions — breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity — goes up.
Managing menopause symptoms
You may be one of the lucky women who sail through menopause without much difficulty, but if you have symptoms that aren't helped by the following healthy living routines, you and your practitioner can choose treatments that suit your symptoms, health, and personal attitudes.
Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition helps you maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, some women find that eating foods containing soy (tofu, tempeh, soymilk, or soybeans) help with hot flashes.
Be active and stay active. Midlife may be the most important time for you to get regular exercise. It:
- increases your metabolism
- helps keep your bones strong
- helps strengthen your muscles
- improves your balance
- lift your mood, self-confidence, and self-esteem
- helps you feel more energetic and relaxed
- improves your sleep
Explore your emotions. Midlife inspires some women to lead a healthier, more reflective life, while it seems to heighten emotional and mental challenges for others. Find mental health services in your area.