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Menopause Health Care: Symptoms and Stages

Banner Health supports you through the transition to perimenopause, menopause and beyond. Look to Banner Health for all your gynecologic health needs throughout your life. Learn more about how to manage menopause symptoms throughout every stage from the professionals at Banner Health.

What Is Menopause?

Menopause occurs when the reproductive hormones in a woman begin to decrease. Menopause is when you have not had your period for 12 months. Menopause can occur earlier for women if they have had surgical removal or their ovaries, chemotherapy/radiation or a hormone level drop. Your provider can run some blood tests to confirm your menopausal state if needed

What Age Does Menopause Happen?

Menopause symptoms start to develop usually occurs in your 40s or 50s, with the average age being 51 years old in the United States.

Signs and Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause signs and symptoms are usually associated with the levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in the body. Common menopause symptoms may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Painful intercourse
  • Low libido
  • Foggy thinking
  • Memory lapses
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable or flat mood
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue (low energy)
  • Joint & muscle aches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain

What Is Premenopause?

Premenopause is the time before menopause when your body is still having periods. During premenopause, you might show no signs of change in your body while hormonal changes are still occurring. Technically, any stage before menopause is considered premenopausal.

What Is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the transition time between your childbearing years and menopause when the ovaries decrease the production of hormones. The perimenopause stage can last anywhere from a few months to a few years and have similar symptoms to menopause.

Perimenopause vs Early or Premature Menopause

Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause while early or premature menopause is when menopause occurs at age 40 or younger.

Perimenopause Symptoms

Women experiencing perimenopause may experience all menopause related symptoms as well as changes in their menstrual cycle, such as:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding

Managing Symptoms for Perimenopause

Perimenopause and menopause are a natural transition, therefore there is no cure for it or ways to prevent it from happening. However, there are several ways to manage and treat the symptoms you may be experiencing. A healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and regular exercise may help you manage some of your symptoms. Other menopause health options include natural supplements, non-hormonal medications or hormonal medications. Since pregnancy is still possible in perimenopause, it is important to consider birth control as well. Discuss your options with your doctor to create a custom plan.

Managing Menopause Symptoms

When it comes to managing menopause symptoms, there are a few ways to reduce symptoms. In your lifestyle, it’s important to:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Start an exercise routine

There are also hormonal and non-hormonal medications that can ease menopause symptoms, as well as hormone therapy. Talk to your doctor about the best menopause treatment and health care options that will work for you.

What Is Postmenopause?

Postmenopause is the time after the 12 months without a period.

Postmenopause Symptoms

Symptoms relating to menopause and postmenopause usually decrease once you’re officially in postmenopause stage. Every woman may experience symptoms differently. During postmenopause, you may experience:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats

Bone Loss After Menopause

During and after menopause, women’s estrogen levels have decreased significantly, and this can lead to bone loss and low bone density. Estrogen helps to build bones and keep them strong. Talk to your doctor about options to help reduce bone loss as well as bone density testing.

Learn more about women’s bone health here.

Menopause and Heart Disease

As women enter into menopause and postmenopause, the chance for heart disease increases. Menopausal women can decrease their risk of heart disease by keeping a healthy lifestyle with a heart-healthy diet and exercise. Learn more about women’s heart health here.