The Milestone of Menopause
As baby boomers enter mid-life, our culture is moving away from the view of menopause as a “disorder.” In fact, the results of a Gallup poll of 752 women found 51 percent of postmenopausal women say they are happier now than they were in their 20s, 30s or 40s. The women surveyed said many aspects of their lives had improved, such as family or home life, sense of personal fulfillment, the ability to focus on hobbies and interests, relationships with a spouse or partner and friendships. Sixteen percent said even their sexual relationships had improved.
The time in which women experience many of the physical, emotional and psychological changes is called “perimenopause.” This process takes place six to 10 years before menopause actually begins. Menopause refers to the period of life when menstruation stops naturally. For most women, this occurs between 45 to 55 years of age.
Some women sail through the “change of life” without symptoms, but most women can expect to encounter some physical and emotional changes. M. G., M.D., OB/GYN and Associate Professor at the College of Medicine, states, “Before perimenopause, many women often notice a change in their menstrual period. Their periods may come closer together or further apart. Sometimes women may skip their period completely. Other symptoms may include mild or severe hot flashes, irritability, mild anxiety and sleep disruption. About one in four women experience no symptoms.”
The management of menopause is an individual process. For most women, issues and questions arise, such as whether to take hormone replacement therapy. Your gynecologist or physician/nurse-midwife can help you understand your personal situation and deal effectively with physical symptoms. Dr. G states, “The same healthy lifestyle applies to women going through menopause as did before. This includes eating healthy and exercising. Women should always avoid smoking, alcohol and weight gain.”
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