•    Menopause is not a disease or disorder. It is a naturally occurring process that every woman experiences.

•    Most women experience natural menopause between 40 and 58 years of age; the average age is 51.

The average age a woman experiences menopause is 51

•    Most women experience menopause's signs and symptoms 5-7 years before it definitively occurs.

•    Menopause officially occurs a year after a woman's last menstrual period.

•    Menopause is usually a result of the natural aging process, but certain medical procedures (such as a total hysterectomy) and primary ovarian sufficiency can also trigger it.

•    Premenopausal women who experience induced menopause are faced with menopause and its effects without the gradual adjustment time of perimenopause. The abrupt loss of estrogen may result in more sudden and intense symptoms. Women who experience induced menopause usually have a greater need for treatment to control their menopause-associated symptoms than women who undergo natural menopause. And because these women are often younger, they need ongoing monitoring and sometimes treatment to lower the risk of menopause associated diseases such as osteoporosis later in life.

•    There are three main menopause stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

•    Perimenopause is when you'll experience most of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause.

•    Some women can continue to experience symptoms all through postmenopause which is all the years beyond menopause.

A woman experiencing menopause

•    Hot flashes, irregular menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and mood swings are common menopause symptoms.

•    Treatment of sleep disturbances should first focus on improving sleep routine with good sleep hygiene. When lifestyle changes fail to alleviate sleep disturbances, a clinician should be consulted to discuss other options and to rule out sleep disorders, such as thyroid abnormalities, allergies, anemia, restless leg, depression, or sleep apnea (breathing problems).

•    Few scientific studies support the belief that menopause contributes to true clinical depression, severe anxiety, or erratic behavior. However, perimenopausal women report symptoms of tearfulness, mood swings, and feeling blue or discouraged. 

•    Difficulty remembering and concentrating are common complaints during perimenopause and the years right after menopause. More research is needed to determine the cause of these complaints. Although studies are lacking to prove the association, sleep disturbances and hot flashes may contribute to these symptoms, as well as dealing with various midlife stressors. Remaining physically, socially, and mentally active may help prevent memory loss. Women who are concerned about declining cognitive performance are advised to consult with their healthcare provider.

A woman holding an estrogen supplement

•    A small amount of women—about 1%—reach menopause before age 40. Women experiencing premature menopause (age 40 or younger) that is not medically induced go through perimenopause and may have the same symptoms as women with natural menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. However, compared to women who reach menopause at the typical age, women who experience premature menopause—whether natural or induced— spend more years without the benefits of estrogen and are at greater risk for some health problems later in life, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

•    Your risk for more serious complications increases after you reach menopause—during the postmenopause stage. Heart disease, osteoporosis, and weight gain are common complications of menopause. Also higher cholesterol, dryer mucus membranes causing vaginal atrophy, dry eyes and dry mouth problems.

•    With aging come increased dental problems, including tooth loss, need for dentures, gum recession, higher risk of gum tissue injury, “burning” mouth and tongue, general hot and cold tooth sensitivity, and decreased bone mineral density (BMD) in the jawbone. While some of these problems are related to estrogen decline at menopause, other causes include advancing age, inadequate intake of calcium and vitamins, medication side effects, and medical conditions such as anemia or diabetes. Practicing good oral hygiene is extremely important.

•    Hormone therapy (also known as estrogen plus progesterone therapy) is widely considered the best treatment for moderate to severe hot flashes. The best treatment depends on how severe the hot flashes are, how much they interfere with a woman’s quality of life, her personal philosophy and preferences, and her health profile. If treatment is needed, hot flashes can usually be reduced or eliminated completely with lifestyle changes, nonprescription remedies, and prescription therapies. Systemic estrogen therapy is the only therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—and Health Canada—for treating hot flashes.

75% of women report sexual problems related to menopause

•    Lesser known menopausal symptoms are depression, joint pain, headaches, ringing of the ears, heart palpitations, loss of sex drive, teeth problems and memory loss.

•    Remember if you have a uterus, you need to take progestogen therapy along with estrogen.  If you have had your uterus removed you may take estrogen only.

•    Sometimes custom-compounded hormones are referred to as “bioidentical hormones” or “natural hormones.” These terms mean different things to different people. To scientists and healthcare providers, bioidentical hormones are those that are chemically identical to the hormones produced by women (primarily in the ovaries) during their reproductive years. A woman’s body can make various estrogens (such as 17beta-estradiol, estrone, and estriol) as well as progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones. Thus, bioidentical hormone therapy can mean a medication that provides one or more of these hormones as the active ingredient. There are many FDA approved bioidentical hormones to choose, patches, gels, lotions, vaginal rings, & pills.

•    When women are having their testing done each year remember to test for thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, & testosterone.  They all work together in harmony.

•    Healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise, balanced eating, and not smoking are effective ways to reduce—even eliminate—menopause symptoms.
As with any changes in your health we suggest that you visit a qualified health care practitioner that is trained in the area of health you are concerned about changing.  After 40 seek out health care practitioners that specialize in women, prevention and aging.