Usually you only here the bad about menopause, but it’s important to remember that 20% of women will never experience a hot flash/flush or mood swings. So for those of you dreading the event (which in terms of inevitability, ranks up there with death and taxes!), let’s separate some fact from fiction.
If a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, she’s officially reached menopause. Menopause signifies the end of a woman’s childbearing years and the realisation that they’re getting older. Or menopause means women no longer have to deal with the discomfort and inconvenience of a monthly period and the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy … for many women it represents a new age of freedom.
Some of the myths associated with menopause …
The biggest myth is that menopause is the beginning of the end.
Fact: True in the sixth century, but not today! The average woman will live one-third of her life after menopause (which typically starts around 51.) … and these are the years of growth and opportunity.
Depression is common to most women in menopause.
Fact: There have been a few studies (note … a few!) that have suggested a possible link between hormone changes and depression. Women are already twice as likely as men to experience depression, and most research shows no link at all. Hormone changes may be responsible for some symptoms, including mood swings, but these are not the same as true psychological distress such as depression.
All women will experience unpleasant side effects and symptoms during menopause.
Fact: Menopause is different for every woman and although you may experience the common side effects such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings, you may be a woman for whom the symptoms are mild, or even non-existent. In fact, the only difference you may notice is the absence of a period. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind and, with any luck, you’ll be part of the 20% that experience no symptoms/side-effects
Nearly all women should take hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
Fact: The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) rose in the 1960s because it was thought that HRT was a cure-all for menopause symptoms and by the 1990s, the oestrogen replacement drug Premarin was the most widely prescribed drug for menopause/post-menopause women. However, with the evidence that HRT can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots for some women, doctors have become very cautious about prescribing HRT for women because of its potential side effects. There are other treatments that can help with hot flushes and vaginal dryness and any other symptoms you may have. Investigate and find the right solution for you!
Women put on weight after menopause.
Fact: Many women gain weight between the ages of 35 and 55! In terms of recent studies, the jury is out on whether or not this weight gain is attributable to menopause. It may just be an age-related problem and if you watch your diet and follow a good exercise routine, you can prevent weight gain during middle-age.
You can still get pregnant after menopause.
Fact: During the early stages of menopause, yes, you can become pregnant. Find the right birth control to get you through this transition period.
When you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months you are officially post-menopause and pregnancy is a thing of the past.
Women no longer have sex after menopause.
Fact: What?! Sex can become better and more fulfilling after menopause because you no longer have to worry about getting pregnant and you may gain a better mental outlook and greater level of self-confidence … if you don’t, get help!
If your sex life is less than exciting or if you’re no longer interested, check to make sure your indifference to sex isn’t caused by a chronic illness or a medication you are taking.
If vaginal dryness is the problem, find some lubrication that works for you …
This is really the same as Myth #1 because it relates to the belief that post-menopause is a time when you slow down and watch your health go downhill. In reality, women are living healthier, more active lives than ever before and are now often taking this time to further develop their careers, create a new career, travel, volunteer, and live for themselves … it’s finally their turn! .