It happens to every woman, there's no escaping it. But while many women associate menopause with the end of the world, it could also mean a new age of freedom.
Thursday night we bust the top myths on menopause.
From night sweats to weight gain, it can even drive you crazy.
"One of the craziest things women do is name their hot flashes," says Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, a Certified Menopause Practitioner.
But menopause doesn't have to be all bad. It could mean a new beginning. Just ask Staness Jonekos.
"Menopause I have to say was maybe one of the best things that has ever happened to me," says Staness Jonekos.
In fact after a few lifestyle changes, she looks and feels better than ever before. Doctor Chrisandra Shufelt says the biggest myth about menopause is, women see it as the beginning of the end.
"Women need to understand that menopause is a transition," explains Dr. Shufelt.
Another big myth, menopause signals the end of your sex life. While a drop in hormones has an impact, general health and social factors like marital status carry more weight. To amp up your libido experts recommend exercising and staying sexually active. Having sex stimulates blood flow to your sex organs and keeps them healthy.
Finally, what about depression? While hormone changes may be responsible for some symptoms like mood swings, they're different from true clinical symptoms and they go away.
"Menopause is just a door we walk through into another stage," says Jonekos.
A door, with the right attitude, you can look forward to.
Doctor Shufelt says to avoid a wave of hot flashes, stay away from caffeine, sugar and spicy foods. Also be sure to exercise, walking just 10 minutes a day can help alleviate symptoms.
MENOPAUSE: IT'S NOT ALL BAD!
CAUSE OF THE "PAUSE": Menopause occurs in a woman's life when her periods (menstruation) eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55. During menopause, the ovaries stop making eggs and produce less estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes cause menopause symptoms. Periods occur less often and eventually stop. Sometimes this happens suddenly. But most of the time, periods slowly stop over time. Menopause is complete when you have not had a period for 1 year (postmenopause). Women who are postmenopausal can no longer get pregnant. Surgical menopause can occur when medical treatments cause a drop in estrogen. This can happen if the ovaries are removed or chemotherapy or hormone therapy for breast cancer is received. (Source: PubMed Health)
NOT ALL BAD: 1. Menopause marks the end of the menstrual cycle, which for many women is a cause for celebration in itself. It means no more fussing with tampons or pads, no more worry about leakage, and no more menstrual cramping.
2. Women are affected by migraines three times more often than men, according to the National Headache Foundation. About 70 percent of these women have menstrual migraines, headaches that coincide with ovulation and menstruation. In a normal menstrual cycle, fluctuating levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can trigger menstrual migraines. But after menopause, levels of estrogen and progesterone fall, and often the number of hormonal headaches declines too.
3. Many women approaching their 50s develop fibroids, uterine tumors that are almost always benign. Fibroids grow when estrogen levels in the body are high. If fibroid symptoms, including pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and pressure on the bladder are severe, doctors may recommend surgery. Fortunately, fibroids often stop growing or shrink when women reach menopause and estrogen levels decline. (Source: Everydayhealth.com)
HELPING SYMPTOMS: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods., eat soy foods, calcium and vitamin D , get plenty of exercise, practice slow, deep breathing whenever a hot flash starts to come on, try taking six breaths a minute, try yoga, tai chi, or meditation and dress lightly and in layers.
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