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Menopause is a normal stage of aging that happens when a woman’s periods stop and she is no longer able to bear children. It is a slow process that takes months or years. Menopause can cause a slew of symptoms. 

Most women experience at least some of these menopausal symptoms, usually in their late forties or early fifties. However, this is only the average. Women can experience menopause as early as their 30s. Here are six facts about menopause that you should know about.

1. Your family history might help foretell when you will go through menopause.

Knowing when your mother went through menopause is an excellent baseline for predicting when it will happen to you. If you come from a family of women who experience early menopause, such as having your final period in your early 40s, this indicates that your menopausal transition will begin in your 30s, which has serious consequences for your long-term health. However, your family history is an estimate, therefore you may reach menopause sooner or later. 

2. During and after menopause, the body continues to release hormones

After menopause, the body continues to produce estrogen. Estrogen is needed for many bodily activities, and the body still requires some estrogen, but in reduced doses. The ovaries, however, will no longer produce estrogen. Instead, the adrenal glands release androgens, which are converted into estrogen by aromatase, another hormone.

3. Menopause is often confused with other medical disorders

Menopause has been linked to over 30 distinct symptoms, with women experiencing an average of eight concurrent symptoms. As a result, it’s not unexpected that misdiagnosis is widespread during menopause, given that many symptoms are similar to those of other common conditions, such as thyroid problems and severe depression. 

In a poll of 1,000 women aged 45-60, 70% reported having perimenopausal symptoms in their 30s and 40s, but 90% failed to recognize the obvious relationship to their shifting hormones, instead attributing symptoms to aging, stress, anxiety, and depression.

4. Menopause might have an impact on bone health

Your bones’ calcium content may change if your estrogen levels drop. This can result in considerable losses in bone density, leading to osteoporosis. It can also increase your risk of hip, spine, and other bone fractures. Many women have increased bone loss in the first few years following their last menstrual cycle. To maintain strong bones:

5. Sexual problems may be quite disturbing

Other symptoms may be considered acceptable without complaint by some women, but a decrease in sex drive, caused primarily by androgen deficiency, and discomfort during sex, caused by the withdrawal of estrogen, which keeps the vaginal walls elastic and lubricated, is the one that causes women to take action and visit their gynecologists. 

OTC vaginal lubricants can help relieve this pain and dryness for many women. Others require a prescription, such as vaginal estrogen cream, tablet, capsule, or ring; ospemifene, an oral medicine; and prasterone, a vaginal tablet. If you experience pain during sex, low sex drive, and other sex-related issues during menopause, don’t delay your visit to a gynecologist.

6. Menopause might cause forgetfulness or irritability

For many perimenopausal women, forgetfulness and mood swings are common. The good news is that they generally return to their baseline once they’ve completed the transition. Some women develop mental health problems during menopause. 

This has been connected to hormone shifts and is especially common in women who have already experienced mental health issues. Women who experience symptoms of depression or other mental disorders should be encouraged to seek therapy.

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