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Menopause Symptoms

by Elena Emily on August 31, 2016

Menopause Symptoms

 

Menopause Symptoms to Watch For & Ways to Relieve Them

 

Menopause symptoms - Dr. Axe

For many women, menopause is a dreaded process, especially since we usually only hear about the bad parts. Menopause is a fact of life for all women, like it or not. For many women, menopause is a dreaded process, especially since we usually only hear about the bad parts. Menopause is a fact of life for all women, like it or not


What Is Menopause?

Let’s take a look at exactly what menopause is all about — and what it’s not.

The Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University explains that there are three stages of menopause: 

  • Perimenopause (before menopause)
  • Menopause
  • Postmenopause (after menopause)

Unlike what many think (or how it might feel), menopause doesn’t last forever, and your body does become accustomed to the new changes with time. How long it takes depends on each individual woman, her own body and her state of overall health.

Menopause is the permanent end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and therefore her years of fertility. Technically, menopause is considered to start one year following a woman’s last period (meaning she’s been experiencing “amenorrhea,” or no menstrual cycle, for one year). This means that 12 months after your very last period, you’re officially “in” menopause and likely already starting to experience some common menopause symptoms. This time period signifies the end of reproductive ovarian functioning and a transition through various hormonal changes. 

 

What Causes Menopause Symptoms?

Menopause involves many natural changes to a woman’s entire reproductive system, including her internal organs, external genitalia, breast tissue (which is capable of secreting hormones), and various reproductive and non-reproductive hormones. Around the time of your mid-30s, your ovaries start to produce less estrogen and progesterone, and therefore fertility starts to decline.

The hormones primarily involved in a woman’s reproductive system, and therefore menopause, include:

  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Estrogen (three types including estrone, estridiol and estrioll)
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone

Prior to menopause during the reproductive years, estradiol is the major form of estrogen, which is released primarily from the ovaries. After menopause, estrone becomes the most abundant type of estrogen produced, which is mostly released from a woman’s fat cells and adrenal glands. 


Common Menopause Symptoms

The rate at which various reproductive hormones adjust during menopause varies widely from woman to woman, so symptoms of menopause can be very different for each person and also very unpredictable. Hormones tend not to drop in a fast, linear fashion — rather they can spike back up at times, which helps explain why a woman’s period might still come and go during the transition through menopause.

Some of the most common menopause symptoms include: