Women go through many bodily changes throughout their lifetime like pregnancy, birth control, puberty, and more. Menopause is one of those processes that can sometimes feel as though your world has flipped upside down since it affects many important bodily functions. Most women have heard of menopause, but may not be aware of the hormonal changes that their body is experiencing. Menopause is not just a one way road, but a long journey many women go through.
Predicting Your Menopause Age
Menopause is typically a diagnosis given to a woman after 12 months of not having a menstrual cycle. It could happen earlier or later, depending on the woman’s body, but the typical menopause age is around your 40s or 50s.
Sometimes women do not go through menopause until they hit their 60s. There is no set time that it is supposed to happen, but family history can be a good indicator because you usually get it around the same time as when other women in your family, like your sisters or your mother.
If you’ve been wondering how many years does a woman have her period, you should know that on average, menopause age for women in the United States occurs at around 51. Read below to learn some of the symptoms that can happen as a woman goes through this process:
- Hot flashes: The most common of all the symptoms, and typically caused due to blood flooding the skin’s surface and resulting in a warm feeling. This can also happen at night, during sleep, which is referred to as night sweats.
- Mood changes: Another very common symptoms in which you may start to feel distressed, panicked, sad, or depressed, due to the low estrogen in your body. Estrogen is thought to raise serotonin levels (the hormone regulating mood in humans), so once estrogen is lost, it can cause trouble with moods and emotions. If you have trouble sleeping, this can also cause the mood swings to become worse since you become tired, lose serotonin, and miss out on much-needed rest.
- Trouble sleeping: Can be caused by night sweats or other factors like anxiousness from the mood changes.
- Weight gain or metabolism lost: Another common symptom since estrogen and progesterone control body fat and storage. When estrogen levels decline, your body can start to store and keep more fat than before.
- Thinning tissues in the skin, urinary tract, and vagina: This can develop and cause pain during sexual activity since the vagina becomes drier. Your skin can also start to look more wrinkled since there is less moisture in the skin, and you may also have to urinate more or lose control of your bladder.
- Headaches: Since estrogen can affect pain receptors in the brain.
- Breast tenderness
It’s important to note that these symptoms are all causes of low estrogen in the female body. They can also present themselves in perimenopause, which we will talk about in the following paragraph.
Perimenopause: The Stage Before Menopause
If you’re wondering when do you get menopause, you should know that there are telltale signs before it actually happens. Menopause doesn’t just happen overnight, rather, it is a process that can take months to years to go through, which means there are stages to the course. Natural menopause typically occurs after the perimenopause stage. Perimenopause means “around menopause.”
This stage is where the body goes through a natural reaction and “hinting” at what will come next in your life. There is no set amount of time in which perimenopause lasts, and it can happen as young as 35 or at an older age depending on your body. During the perimenopause stage, there is still a possibility of pregnancy, so it is recommended that you do not stop taking your birth control just yet if you don’t want to become pregnant. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, you can always consult a TopLine MD Alliance affiliated doctor near you to discuss your health.
The Importance and Role of Estrogen
Estrogen is an important factor when discussing menopause, because most of the estrogen in your body comes from your ovaries (but it can also come from your adrenal glands and fat cells). While most of the estrogen in the body is in charge of reproductive and sexual health in women, estrogen also has a lot to do with the health of other dominant parts of your body.
As estrogen starts to naturally decrease in a woman’s body as perimenopause and menopause come in, it shifts many bodily processes. It can affect your bones, muscles, heart and blood vessels, hair, skin, and more. This means that once women reach lower estrogen levels, there are a few things you should look out for:
- Osteoporosis: A skeletal condition that can develop since estrogen can make your bones less dense and more brittle.
- Heart disease: Studies show that estrogen helps reduce heart disease by boosting the good cholesterol in your bloodstream. Once menopause settles in, there is a much higher risk of heart disease.
If you have any questions about your bone health or heart disease as you age, contact your doctor to discuss your concerns.
How to Raise Your Estrogen Levels
There are a couple of different ways to help replace the estrogen you have lost, including estrogen tablets, vaginal rings, and more. You can also eat your way to better hormonal health, and below we are sharing some foods that can help boost your estrogen:
- Edamame or soybeans: Easy-to-grab snacks and are known to be delicious with a pinch of salt and pepper. Luckily, they are also full of estrogen and can be effective when trying to raise your levels.
- Fennel tea: An efficient way to get an extra boost, and can be a calming and enjoyable way to raise your numbers.
- Tofu: Since tofu is produced from soymilk, which is very high in estrogen, eating it ca be a great way to raise your estrogen levels. You can cook tofu in a stir fry with some vegetables.
- Hummus: Made from chickpeas or garbanzo beans, hummus is high in estrogen. A healthy way to eat it is in a dip with vegetables or crackers.
Remember, always consult with your TopLine MD affiliated primary care physician or OB-GYN to choose what diet works best for you.
Causes of Early Menopause
There are a couple of factors that can cause premature menopause, including:
- Family history of early menopause
- Surgery involving the ovaries
- Certain medical conditions like HIV or AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, Turner’s syndrome, to name a few.
- Radiation or chemotherapy
Menopause is Normal, Contact a TopLine MD Affiliated Provider for Support
If you or someone you love has experienced any of these symptoms, know that it is a natural human process and normal to go through. Every day, women from all over the world face medical challenges and may think they are alone. With the TopLine MD Alliance, you are not alone and there are always people who want to help you in your corner. If you or a loved one is wondering how to navigate menopause or perimenopause, contact a provider today.
The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.