Am I Crazy or Menopausal?

Are you menopausal? Perimenopausal? Or do you even know? This is part of the problem when it comes to menopause. There are many women that don’t know much about it at all, other than they’re dreading that time in their life, but it doesn’t have to be all bad! It’s a natural process of a woman’s life and with proper care and knowledge, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

What is Menopause?
There are essentially three stages to menopause. First is perimenopause which is the stage before full blown menopause. During perimenopause you may experience symptoms of menopause, but you will still have your menstrual cycle. However you may notice it becoming irregular. Then you go into full blown menopause, which is when you no longer have a menstrual cycle at all for at least 6 months to a year. After this you are considered postmenopausal. It may feel like menopause lasts forever, but it doesn’t. Women typically begin to experience menopausal symptoms around age 35. Around this age when the ovaries shrink and stop production of progesterone and estrogen, which mainly control your menstrual cycle. Menopause is defined as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and also her years of fertility, but technically it doesn’t begin until a year after your last cycle. During this time a woman’s body will experience a vast amount of hormonal changes.

What causes Menopause?
Menopause is a complex process so there isn’t one specific event that triggers it to occur. One of the most significant changes that occurs is when you experience a loss of ovarian follicles, which has a direct effect on the amount of estrogen present in the body. Estrogen is produced by mature follicles, so as you lose ovarian follicles you are also experiencing a decrease in estrogen. This process typically begins roughly 6 months to a year before reaching menopause and will continue throughout the time period. Prior to menopause estradiol is the main form of estrogen in the body which is released by the ovaries. After menopause the main form of estrogen in the body is estrone, which is released by fat cells and the adrenal glands.

Common Menopause Symptoms:

Irregular Periods: mostly common during perimenopause where most women get their menstrual cycle roughly every 2-4 months. They may come and go and differ in flow as well.

Mood Swings: women typically experience an increase in irritability, anxiety and/or depression.

Weight Gain: commonly associated with a slower metabolism

Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
Vaginal Dryness
Thinning Hair/Hair Loss
Change in skin texture/Dry skin
Low libido
Breast changes

How Long Does Menopause Last?
For majority of women menopause typically lasts 5-10 years. Usually on the lower side, but symptoms may come and go throughout an extended amount of time. It is said that women live roughly a third of their life after they experience menopause. So it isn’t the end, it’s simply the start of a new chapter!

I understand menopause sounds like it’s nothing to look forward to. But many, if not all of the side effects can be relieved or eliminated with several all natural remedies. If you still feel confused, overwhelmed, or crazy then know that I am always here to help and tell you “no, you aren’t crazy- it’s just your hormones!”

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