A Silent Chapter in A Woman’s Life
Menopause occurs between ages 45 – 55 and can often be a taboo and ‘hush hush’ topic for women. Colloquially referred to as “the change”, women can experience mood swings, hot flushes, insomnia, headaches, hormonal changes, and the finishing of your menstrual cycle. But what many women don't realise is that this transition can take anywhere from 5-10 years to pass through. Many women experience menopause in silence, and can feel a sense of grieving or loss, as they lose their ability to have children.
Just another life stage? Or something more?
Menopause is another life stage, like puberty, however the response to the two are quite different. When a woman gets her first menstrual cycle she is welcomed into womanhood and femininity, however when entering menopause there is this idea that she loses the very thing that ‘makes her a woman’ leaving her feeling a sense of irrelevance.
Many women describe this time as one where they have to fight to stay relevant, particularly those who have built an identity around the feminine cornerstones of youth and beauty.
To make matters worse, there is a long history of identifying women as crazy during the menopausal stage, and this can leave women feeling silent or silenced by their community and even society at large.
The negative stigma and misconceptions need to go.
We need more menopausal support
Entering menopause should be seen as an achievement, a passage, that can be faced with the help of a strong community and support network, can be an exciting new stage of womanhood.
Knowing what your body is going through is half the battle. Then you can tailor your lifestyle, diet and self care routines to minimise the disruption, and handle this transition to menopause with grace.
So what really happens to my body during menopause?
When you reach Menopause, your ovaries stop producing eggs, and your oestrogen levels drop around 95%. This actually helps protect the endometrium, as well as lower the risk of breast cancer. While 95% is a large drop in oestrogen, levels do not drop to zero as other tissues within the body can make oestrogen.
Nourishing your body with the right foods during Menopause has shown to have great impact. Proinflammatory diets have been associated with a worsening of Menopausal symptoms, so consuming anti-inflammatory foods can have great benefits in reducing the severity of symptoms such as hot flushes and insomnia. This is also consistent with other studies that show women who consume larger quantities of plant based foods, see a reduction in symptoms.
Finding a well-balanced diet that works for you and your hormones is essential. Eating a diet that stabilises blood glucose and insulin levels is important during this next chapter of your life.
- Increase your consumption of plants and focus on their diversity
- Ensure protein is in every meal
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Try to avoid highly processed, sugary foods
- Enjoy a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. The fibre and protein will ensure you stay fuller for longer and avoid snacking.
Counselling and support
There is a lot of stigma and often a sense of grief at the loss of sense of self when transitioning through menopause. This may stem from experiencing mood swings and being labelled emotional, or change in skin, weight changes, hot flushes. Whatever the narrative is, it must change, perhaps from one of loss, to one of freedom and excitement. But it can be easier said than done, so seeking support from a professional counsellor may be beneficial.
Menopausal counselling may focus on building the resilience to manage physical symptoms, such as insomnia, hot flushes and hair loss. Other counselling approaches may focus on emotional and psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, some counselling has been known to include strategies for incorporate lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and skincare routines that can be helpful in managing menopause symptoms.
The important thing to note here, is that the more we talk about peri-menopause and menopause, the more we can begin removing the stigma associated with it. Women need to feel comfortable talking about this stage in their life without judgement, and it's important that women begin to talk openly with their children, their partners and their friends about the changes they are going through.
Skincare and self-love routines
Curating a skincare routine that’s hydrating and firming is a great act of self-love. Nourish your skin with oils to help protect it from the elements. Finding oils rich in Vitamins A, E, P, K and Omega’s 3-6-9 is like applying a topical multi-vitamin to your skin to hydrate, protect and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Our Re-Gen Cell Repair Oil with Bakuchiol does just this, with many women seeing visible results in as little as 12 hours, making it a great addition to your routine. If you are stuck finding the right routine for you, our AM Routine and PM Routine are curated to hydrate, protect and support your skin 24/7.
In the AM, prep your skin with our Awaken Hyaluronic Acid Prep Spritz as your skins initial hydration. Next, plump and hydrate with Chrysalis Vital Collagen and Hydration Serum. Seal all that hydration with Emerge, our hydrating day cream that is formulated with amino acids to stimulate collagen synthesis, Hyaluronic acid for all-day hydration, as well as phytoestrogens, vitamin C and ceramides to keep your skin protected and supported all day.
In the PM, use a cleanser that is going to remove the dirt and grim from the day without stripping your skin of vital oils. Recovery, our hydrating cream cleanser should do the trick as it hydrates and balances pH all at once. Peptide, our Amino acid abundant serum will help regenerate your skin as you sleep, restoring elasticity and collagen. The last step is our rejuvenating night cream, Beyond, which is packed with ceramides for rejuvenation to the deep dermal layer, and forming a protective moisture retaining barrier all while you sleep.
Menopause in the workplace
While half the worlds population struggles with Menopause, women far too often suffer in silence. Research from the British Menopause Society shows that 45% of women feel that their work is negatively impacted by their Menopausal symptoms, and another 47% have needed time off work due to symptoms, but won’t tell their employer why. Research has also showed that women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace, however 13% of women leave the workforce because of menopausal symptoms.
There is a growing number of companies who are beginning to get their act together and provide women with support at work, though it might be happening slower than many women would like. There are also organisations that offer support to women who are looking for advice, such as Menopause Alliance Australia, which is working hard to break the stigma around menopause.
By pushing for workplaces to establish policies that support women in this stage of life, companies can create a healthier and more inclusive working environment. Changes include the introduction of menstrual and menopausal leave, as well as a more open environment where it is becoming accepted to talk about peri-menopause and menopause, making it more likely for women to seek out the help they need. Menopause Alliance Australia says it best... ‘no woman should be left behind’.
How do we change the narrative around menopause?
Education around what menopause has great power in changing the narrative on a societal level. However, the narrative you tell yourself is most important. Shifting your mindset from one of lack and loss to one that identifies menopause as a transformative and freeing stage can have great benefit. Reaching out to the woman around you and sharing your experiences will help you realise that you are not alone.
Just remember, you are not crazy, your body is finding its new groove, and it shall pass. You could say, it’s all just growing pains.
Frequently Asked Questions about Menopause Age and Symptoms
What Age Is Considered Early for Menopause?
When you reach menopause in your 30's or 60's, it is premature, according to Faubion. It is seen in around 1 percent of female patients, said. Typically the early menopausal period occurs around 5 to 7 percent of women. Menopause in the early 40s is regarded as normal, says Sheila.
Does the Age My Mother Reached Menopause Mean Anything?
Your mother's menopausal age is probably the best way to know... Streicher added that genetics has become one of the biggest factors in the process of a man undergoing menopause, he said. Race and ethnic status of women can be very important when it comes to menopause. Findings from SWAN's survey suggest women of color have peri-menopause earlier.
When does the transition to menopause usually start?
In menopause peri-menopause occurs from mid-40s in most women. On average, a woman can experience peri-menopause for 4 to 6 years after the period stops.
Could Alcohol Consumption or Cigarette Smoking Influence When Menopause Occurs?
Although some studies are attempting to determine the exact factors that influence a woman's natural menopause it's becoming increasingly important. In a recent paper in the journal Menopause published online by NASM the author examined several aspects of assessing women's health and lifestyle.
Does Menstrual Cycle Length or Menopause Symptoms Influence the Timing of Menopause?
Menopause is a time for menopause that is more often pronounced in females who have a shorter cycle. In the study women also had a higher prevalence of menopause symptoms and higher rates of onset of depression.The symptoms included insomnia in the late stages, heart pain in a woman and depressed symptoms in the midterm period. Further research must be performed for confirmation.
How long do you have symptoms of menopause?
Menopause symptoms may last 10 – 15 years. Typically women have symptoms for at least a decade.
How will I know if I am starting the transition to menopause?
Sometimes it is very difficult for a physician to tell the difference between menopause and peri-menopause. The main thing to remember is that it is your body and your journey. If you feel like you are experiencing menopausal symptoms and your doctor is not convinced, seek out another opinion.
How long does the transition to menopause last?
Peri-manomepause, which leads to menopause lasts for up to a decade before periods stop permanent. The menopause transition typically takes four years. You won't know if you've gone on menopause until you've had an entire period before your next period. A 12 month absence of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding.
Is There a Link Between Trauma and the Timing of the Menopause Transition?
In one study released by Menopause magazine in March 2022, a study found that a mother's own childhood physical abuse as well as her own child's sexual abuse both were linked to a more advanced period of menopause.
Can menopause affect my sex life?
The changing hormonal balance during menopause may affect your sex life. Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause, and occasionally, women are less sensitive to physical touch during menopause. This coupled with the emotional toll of going through a huge life transition may result in decreased interest in sex.
What Else Affects When a Woman Will Finally Stop Having Menstrual Periods?
Scientists are exploring various factors to determine when menopause starts. In some ways education has influenced menopause, he said. Women with better education are often diagnosed with menopause earlier. Researchers from JAMA's Open Research Institute found breastfeeding reduces risk for premature menopause. In fact, women are more often having sexual sex than men. Researchers found frequent sexual activities were associated with increased age for menopause.
Should I continue using birth control during the transition to menopause?
Yeah. It's possible to be pregnant after perimenopause and after menopause. During menopause it is possible to ovulate at different times or to re-release eggs during certain periods. But ovulation cannot be guaranteed. During pregnancy, you may need sterilization up to one year after the last period if it is not possible. Ask your doctor if you have a contraceptive issue. Find out the best method in birth control. It is possible that women who are pregnant are susceptible in a few years to getting STDs and sex infections.
Does Having More Children Delay Menopause?
As menstruation has halted due to a high number of pregnancies, researchers believe that a higher number may delay menopause. After analysing data collected by researchers on more than 30 million women, researchers discovered that women who had not yet given birth tended to be older at 61.35 years and had the highest median age at menopause, at 51.36.
What are hot flashes and how long will I have them?
Hot flash is among many symptoms that occur when menopause is occurring. I feel the warmth. Hot flashes may have other effects such as intensity frequency and duration of flashing. Heat strokes become less intense with advancing time.
What is hormone therapy for menopause like?
During a menopause, a person will undergo hormonal changes and the hormone levels will decrease. Ovaries have estrogen and progest. The hormones used by your ovaries can be used to restore the lost ovulation hormones if your thyroid is damaged. Hormone treatment boosts your hormone levels and is useful in reducing symptoms such as colds and dry vagina. It helps reduce osteoarthrosis. It is the most common hormonal treatment in the world.
Are Women Who Aren't Experiencing Symptoms Still Fertile?
During natural menopause women's reproductive health is low, even in older women, according to Faubion. But if you are going through menopause you are still pregnant. Streicher says fertility and menopause are different. You should consult a physician if you have sexual activity to prevent unwanted pregnancy.This procedure is a must.
Will I start menopause if I have a hysterectomy?
This depends on if the uterus is removed from the body after surgery. Unless your ovaries were intact, it is possible to get menopause immediately. If your ovaries are removed from your ovaries your symptoms are immediate.