Menopause is officially diagnosed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. It marks the end of the reproductive phase. Menopause is a natural biological process that occurs as a result of the ovaries producing significantly less estrogen and progesterone. The information available is overwhelming on this topic and often times not credible or does not apply to you. Each woman’s experience can differ tremendously from another’s. Learn more about menopause myths and facts.
Myth: Menopause means the end of sexuality.
Fact: Menopause does not signify the end of sexuality or sexual enjoyment. While hormonal changes during menopause can lead to vaginal dryness and reduced libido for some women, there are treatments and strategies available to address these concerns. Open communication with a partner and healthcare provider can help address any changes and maintain a fulfilling sexual life during and after menopause.
Myth: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the only option for managing menopause symptoms.
Fact: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be effective in alleviating menopause symptoms, but it is not the only option. Women have a range of choices for managing symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and vaginal dryness. Lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress reduction techniques, and adequate sleep, can help manage symptoms. Non-hormonal medications and natural remedies may also be recommended depending on individual circumstances.
Myth: Menopause only affects older women.
Fact: While menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, it can happen earlier or later. Some women may experience menopause in their 30s, known as early menopause, while others may not reach menopause until their late 50s or even early 60s. The timing of menopause is influenced by various factors, including genetics, overall health, and lifestyle.
Myth: Menopause causes weight gain.
Fact: While hormonal changes during menopause can lead to a redistribution of body fat, weight gain is not inevitable. Aging, lifestyle factors, and a decrease in muscle mass can contribute to weight gain during this stage of life. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet can help manage weight and maintain overall well-being during menopause.
Myth: Menopause occurs suddenly.
Fact: Menopause is a gradual process rather than a sudden event. It is defined as the permanent cessation of menstruation and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, can last for several years and is characterized by irregular periods and hormonal fluctuations. Menopause is officially confirmed after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period.
Myth: Menopause increases the risk of heart disease.
Fact: Menopause itself does not cause heart disease, but the hormonal changes associated with menopause can contribute to an increased risk. Estrogen plays a protective role in cardiovascular health, and its decline during menopause can impact heart health. However, lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sedentary behavior, unhealthy diet, and high blood pressure, also contribute to heart disease risk. Taking proactive steps to maintain heart-healthy habits, including regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and regular check-ups, can mitigate the risk.
Every woman’s experience with menopause is unique and it can be a very confusing time. Dr. Granados and Dr. Lee at our integrative medicine clinic in Miami can answer your specific questions about menopause and provide personalized information and guidance based on your individual circumstances.