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Stages of Menopause
Menopause is simply the time in which the ovaries no longer release eggs, the production of key hormones decrease and menstruation ceases. Menopause is broken down into three stages to best describe the gradual changes that occur over the course of 10 to 20 years.
The first signs of menopause typically start in a woman during her 40's and this is called perimenopause. This is the stage in which the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and can last years before a final period. Signs of perimenopause include:
- Irregular Periods
The first symptom of perimenopause is a change in the length and frequency of monthly periods. This can mean more frequent or fewer periods.
- Reduced Fertility
Getting pregnant while in the perimenopause stage is not impossible but can become more challenging due to lowered estrogen levels and less consistent ovulation.
- Night Sweats
This is the result of hot and sweaty during the night. Many women subtly experience night sweats with gradual frequency over the years.
- Sleep Disturbance
Many women report sleep problems during the night caused by night sweats. However, others also experience difficultly falling asleep.
- Vaginal Dryness
Reduced levels of estrogen production can result in vaginal dryness and sometimes pain during sex.
- Mood Swings
Hormone changes and sleep issues are often the culprit of mood swings during perimenopause.
Many women report having to urinate more frequently during the different stages of menopause. Also, cases of bladder infections are more frequent during the perimenopause.
- Weight Gain
Many women experience weight gain during menopause and typically experience and increased weight circumference.
- Concentration Issues
Memory and focus can be a struggle during the times of menopause.
- Hot Flashes
This is a sudden feeling of being hot and typically is felt in the chest, neck and face. Hot flashes typically last a few minutes and cause the face to redden. While some people report a few hot flashes during perimenopause, hot flashes are most prevalent after the period stops.
The time in which your period has stopped for at least one year is the general definition of menopause. Most women stop having a period anywhere between their late 40's to early 60's. Due to the low production of estrogen and other key hormones the signs and symptoms of menopause are at an all time high. Night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, concentration issues and more are most persistent.
When the symptoms of menopause decline, somewhere between 2 and 10 years after a period ceases, a women is said to be postmenopausal. This is a time when the symptoms of menopause are minimal.
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