We have turned to the Menopause support app Olivia to find out what’s the deal with menopause. In a 4-part series you will get to immerse yourself in the timeline of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. In this text you will get to know more about menopause.
There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Most women will go through all these stages. However, it varies a lot in duration and the level of intensity in which you experience symptoms during the different stages.
What is menopause?
Menopause is the stage when you have not had your period for 12 consecutive months. It is the simple explanation, assuming that you are not using hormonal contraceptives or going through a pregnancy at the given moment. Once you’ve reached menopause, your ovaries are no longer releasing eggs. The levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone will then simply be lower for the rest of your life. You’ve officially reached menopause when you haven’t had your period for 12 months, but we use menopause as a general term to talk about the entire period of time from the beginning of perimenopause to the end of post-menopause in order to make it a little easier.
When does menopause start?
The average age for women to reach menopause is 51. However, it is common to reach menopause sometime between the age of 45 and 55. Two important factors that can affect when you reach menopause a lot is smoking and of course, genetics. To smoke, as we all know, is no good for anyone. But women that smoke tend to actually reach menopause about two years earlier than those who does not smoke. Ones genetics also play a big part in when you reach menopause. You often reach menopause around the same time as your mother, grandmother, sisters, and aunts. So, if you are curious to know more about how menopause can affect you, give the women in your life a call!
How to know if you have entered menopause
You have entered menopause when you have not had your period for over a year. This includes experiencing interstitial bleeding, meaning that you get a sudden bleeding that is often not as heavy and dark in colour. Some women in menopause can go 3-4 months without getting their period and then suddenly get it. Others stop getting their period completely at once, which can make it difficult to know when it is time. It is especially important to be attentive if you are not planning on getting pregnant, since you can still get pregnant if you are ovulating and menstruating.
Your doctor can do a follicle-stimulating blood test to confirm if you have reached menopause, but this is usually only done if you are suspected of having entered menopause prematurely, before the age of 45. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released from the pituitary gland in your brain to signal to the ovaries that it is time to release a follicle. Its levels will increase the closer you get to menopause. An FSH-test can show different levels since the hormones often fluctuate during this phase of life, but if it is elevated for a long time, together with not getting your period for over a year, it can be a good indicator that you have entered menopause.
After menopause the woman does no longer produce any eggs and can therefore not become pregnant naturally anymore. But even if your eggs does not follow your biological clock, a pregnancy is still possible with an egg from a donator.
This text is written by the menopause app Olivia. In the Olivia app you receive tips and advice on how you can easier handle menopause from start to finish. You can find more information about them at www.join-olivia.com.