Understanding and managing menopause

Jul 13, 2023

Most people associate menopause with sweat-drenched women suffering from hot flashes, irritability, and mood swings. Although these symptoms may occur in many menopausal women, there’s a lot more to this midlife transition.

Menopause explained

Perimenopause is the phase that women experience before they reach menopause, starting the process of change. This may begin for some women when they’re in their late 30s, but for others it may start as late as their early 50s. This stage usually features irregular menstrual periods and may last up to 8 years.

Women reach menopause when they’ve gone one full year without having a menstrual period. After one year, they’re considered to be in the post-menopausal phase. For most women, menopause happens between the ages of 45 to 55 years and is the end of fertility. This means pregnancy is no longer possible.

While many women breeze through this change with few to no indications, a great many others endure a multitude of symptoms, including the following:

  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Problems sleeping and daytime tiredness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breast discomfort
  • Weight gain
  • Changing interest in sex or lower sexual desire (libido)
  • Vaginal dryness

Relief from symptoms

Every woman is different, so forms of relief will be different for everyone. Kaiser Permanente offers resources, including lifestyle classes, that can help reduce symptoms. We also offer treatment options, such as hormone therapy and holistic medicine, that can alleviate sleep issues, hot flashes, and more.

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