Menopause is a natural biological process. It’s generally considered to have occurred at the point at which it has been 12 months since your last menstrual period. It marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It can happen anywhere in your 40s or 50s, but the average age in the U.S. is 51 years old.
You’re wondering about the side effects. You want to know what you can do to remain healthy through this change.
Here’s what you need to know about menopause.
What are signs of menopause? In the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), you may experience these symptoms:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness
When do you see your doctor? You should continue to see your doctor annually. When you begin to see the signs of menopause, talk to your doctor about preventive health care and any further medical concerns.
How can you prevent symptoms? Ways to minimize menopause signs and symptoms are:
- Cool hot flashes by dressing in layers and pinpointing what triggers them
- Decrease vaginal dryness with lubricants and moisturizers
- Get enough sleep
- Consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and guided imagery
- Strengthen your pelvic area with Kegel exercises
- Eat a balanced diet
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, maintain healthy bones, and prevent osteoporosis