Debunking 8 Misconceptions About Menopause


Everyone has heard talk (and quips) about “the change” in life, but the reality is that menopause means something different to each individual. Here are some of the prevalent menopause fallacies, along with the facts you can rely on.

Myth 1: Menopause symptoms appear when the menopause begins.

In fact, for the majority of women, symptoms begin during perimenopause and typically subside about a year after menopause begins (when menstruation ceases). Perimenopause is the transitional period preceding menopause (peri- means “around” or “near”), during which fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone may cause symptoms. This stage may last anywhere between one and several years.

Myth #2: Your periods will end on their own.

Contrary to conventional belief, menopause does not mean that one day you wake up and your periods are gone forever. Typically, a woman will experience periods that are lighter, heavier, shorter, or lengthier than usual. Some women will stop menstruating altogether. Approximately 10% of women cease menstruating without experiencing any previous irregularity in their periods.

Myth #3: You only experience heat flushes.

In addition to heat flushes, other common menopause symptoms include night sweats, trouble sleeping, migraines, bloating, irregular periods, and a decline in libido. There may be times when you feel forgetful, “fuzzy,” or “going crazy.” Some women also exhibit depressive and anxious symptoms. Remember that these are all valid emotions, and you should consult a physician if any of these symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life.

Myth #4: It will reduce your sexual desire.

Although some women report a decrease in sexual desire and changes in arousal during menopause (and treating symptoms can help), research indicates that healthy, nonsmoking menopausal women with partners experience no change in sexual satisfaction, frequency of sexual activity, or difficulty achieving orgasm. Relationship satisfaction, attitudes toward sex and aging, vaginal dryness, and cultural heritage have a far greater impact on a person’s sexual life than menopause.

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Myth #5: It is necessary to treat it.

Menopause is a perfectly normal process and not a disease requiring treatment. The focus of treatment is on alleviating signs and symptoms and managing chronic conditions that are frequently associated with aging and can exacerbate symptoms. During this period of existence, some women do not require any treatment.

Myth #6: Pregnancy is impossible during menopause.

Yes, it is possible to become pregnant during menopause or perimenopause, when your cycle may become irregular and there is often no fixed pattern of time between periods. After one year without a period, when a woman is deemed “through menopause,” she is unable to conceive. However, you may still be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV/AIDS.

Myth #7: The dangers associated with taking hormones outweigh the benefits.

Over the years, research has produced a range of positive, negative, and sometimes contradictory findings regarding hormone therapy as a menopause treatment. In order to prevent hazards such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends using the lowest effective dose of hormones for the minimum duration possible. However, for many, the benefits outweigh the hazards considerably. It is a highly intimate decision that you should make after consulting your physician.

Myth #8: You must simply endure your symptoms.

There are numerous ways to alleviate menopause symptoms and feel better, and they are as diverse as the women who experience them. You can return to “feeling like yourself” through dietary modifications, herbal supplements, yoga, meditation, and hormone replacement therapy; in some cases, you can feel even better than before. Finding what works for you requires a considerable amount of trial and error. Discuss your options with your physician, and do not give up.


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Source: CNN

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