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What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural transition that every woman will experience often in their forties, but sometimes earlier, from a reproductive to a non-reproductive stage in life.

Anyone born with ovaries is born with all of their eggs. Did you know that these eggs start depleting from puberty onwards? Once depleted, the hormonal loop is disrupted until it ceases completely. This means that once all of your eggs are gone, you will no longer be fertile and able to produce children. It also means that your periods will stop. We can not produce more eggs, we only ever have the amount we were born with!

Despite its inevitability, Menopause remains a topic often hidden under the carpet and ignored by many. However, understanding menopause can empower women to manage this transition with confidence and without fear.

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and her fertility. It is officially diagnosed when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. This phase typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being 51 in the UK.

The stages of menopause, when understood by women, although can cause many challenges, can also be an incredibly empowering time of life. The changes to our bodies and minds experienced by many can offer women the chance to reflect and re-evaluate their priorities and boundaries.

It is often a chance for women to make changes to their lives that offer balance, fulfilment, a newly found sense of gratitude and empowerment.

In ancient Chinese Medicine, menopause is referred to as the Second Spring. It is a stage of life when women are embraced by all generations and is seen as a time to be celebrated.

I don't know about you but I am far happier embracing my peri-menopause, learning how I can support my mind and body, and seeing it as a reason to celebrate!

The Stages of Menopause

Peri-Menopause: This is the transitional period leading up to menopause, often starting in a woman’s 40s but sometimes as early as her mid-30s. When women discuss menopause, they often are referring to their perimenopause. During perimenopause, oestrogen levels begin to fluctuate, causing irregular periods and many other symptoms. For more information on menopause symptoms see my blog post Menopause Symptoms. The average length of Perimenopause is 3-4 years however, many women are unaware of their perimenopause symptoms for many years and other women's experience can last between 10-15 years. Every women's experience will be unique so it is important not to compare your experience with anyone else's.

Menopause: Is a retrospective diagnosis and this stage is reached once a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. The ovaries will have stopped releasing eggs, and oestrogen production decreases significantly. You are only in Menopause for one day and after this you will be in Post Menopause for the rest of your life.

Post Menopause: This is the stage after menopause. Symptoms experienced during perimenopause and menopause may ease for some women but can continue for others.

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