General Overview on
Menopause & Perimenopause
Menopause usually occurs around 50-51 years of age. Menopause is the point at which you are have gone twelve (12) consecutive months without a menstrual period.
The end of menstrual periods signals that the body’s estrogen production has fallen below the point where it builds up the uterine lining every month in preparation for the reproductive process. The drop in the estrogen level is due to the inability of the ovaries to continue to manufacture the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. However, even though a woman’s estrogen levels drop below a point that creates monthly menstrual cycles, she is still making estrogen in her fat cells.
Menopause, in simple terms, means that your body no longer can produce eggs for fertilization. It is the mark of the end of reproduction. It is NOT the end of your womanliness.
Menopausal symptoms often begin occurring several years before the actual cessation of your menstrual period.
For a list of Menopausal Symptoms, Click Here: 35 Symptoms of Menopause
Peri-menopause usually begins in your early 40s. Many women are surprised to learn that the peri-menopause phase can last as long as ten years.
During this time, hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to decline. The pituitary gland attempts to compensate by stimulating the ovaries to make more estrogen. It does this by releasing FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). However, women have fewer follicles as they get older, so they cannot produce the amount of estrogen needed. Thus, there is not enough estrogen in the body to stimulate the LH (luteinizing hormone). Without LH, no progesterone is made and without progesterone, there is no menstruation.
Most women do not need a blood test to tell them they are going into peri-menopause, but if you do have an FSH done, a reading of over 15 based on blood drawn during your menses is usually defined as the criterion for being peri-menopausal.
You will now begin to notice changes in your menstrual cycle. During this time, some periods may be heavier or lighter than others. Cycles begin to be irregular or to be skipped completely in some months.
If you have a hysterectomy and your ovaries are removed, your menopause will be immediate and this is called “surgical menopause”. In this case, your symptoms may be more frequent and more severe.
Otherwise, your transition period into menopause will usually be slow and gradual and you may have few or many symptoms. Try to look on this time positively as a wonderful period of transition in your life. There is help for your symptoms and you are always a child in God’s eyes!
Click Here to Read Peri-Menopause Article: Perimenopause - Premenopause