Posted 6 January 2011 by Dr. Burrows
Menopause, also called "the change of life" or "the climacteric" will affect all of us women at some point! Yes, every single one of us. It is caused by your ovaries "shutting down" because they no longer make the hormones they used to, so it is the end of the fertile time of your life. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, but can occur as early as 40 or into the late 50's.
The impact of menopause on an individual woman varies from woman to woman. Some women don't realize they went through it and for some women, it takes a few years. Typical symptoms include "hot flashes," which are episodes where all of a sudden, you feel completely over heated and start to sweat. Night sweats also are common and some women experience moodiness. Your monthly menstrual cycle can become irregular, sometimes heavier or sometimes lighter before it completely stops (bonus!).
Hundreds of years ago, women were shunned after they went through menopause (if they even lived that long), but these days, it can mean the start of an exciting new chapter in your life (no more worries about contraception, for example). In today's youth-obsessed society, it may be easy to not look forward to this change. But…menopause will happen and the more you know about it, the more control you can have over your transition and the easier this time will be for you.
As I see it, menopause is special because the physical and emotional changes that occur give you a great opportunity to think about new strategies for your personal wellness. Going through menopause is the perfect time to begin or reinforce a health lifestyle that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Making informed choices at this time in your life will set you up for health as you go into old age. This is an opportunity for you to take control!
I am very pleased that recently, there has been increasing awareness about menopause; there is even a musical about it and a newly released documentary! Is anyone out there having hot flashes?