The timeline of menopause
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 perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. But now, a quick rundown of the rollercoaster that all women will eventually go through.
A rollercoaster of symptoms that one day are all ok and the next day feels like a whirlwind of emotions and some extreme sweating to top it off. The hormones do not seem to want to listen to what you want. A never-ending wish for it to be over. Does this sound familiar? Many describe it as walking around with constant PMS that never gets better.
Menopause can be a long journey, and one that you are not always fully prepared for once it starts. All these new words like “perimenopause”, “progesterone”, or “osteoporosis”, can be a lot to take in when you are trying to understand what is actually happening inside your body during this time. Let us go through the different stages to make it easier for you to navigate.
This is simply your whole life before the menopause symptoms start, from puberty up until now.
This is the 3–5-year period before you officially enter menopause. During perimenopause your oestrogen- and other hormone levels start to lower. This usually happens at the end of your forties, but some symptoms can start a lot earlier than that. Your menstruation cycle starts to become irregular. However, please remember, you can still get pregnant during this time since you are still menstruating, and therefore still ovulating, which means that you are still fertile.
You have entered menopause when you have had your last period. This you will simply not know until you have not had your period for 12 consecutive months. A natural menopause, that being one not caused by any medication, can happen between the age of 40 and 58, but with the average age being 51. However, every woman will experience menopause in their own unique way. Some will reach menopause earlier, others later. You often experience the symptoms in different ways too.
This is the period which starts after you have had your final menstruation and is simply the term for the rest of your life after menopause. Menopause symptoms that you have experienced during perimenopause and menopause may however continue for some time when you are in post-menopause.
What should you think about during these years?
Hormone therapy is a common treatment during menopause to balance the fluctuating hormones and easing the symptoms as a result of it. But what many don’t know is that you can do a lot to support yourself in this phase of your life with some lifestyle changes.
Olivia gives their 3 best tips:
Expose yourself to sunlight early in the morning
This supports the body’s very own clock and signals to both body and mind that it is now daytime – time to be alert and awake! The beauty in the sun’s rays is that it also helps your brain to produce a signaling substance called serotonin. Serotonin is humans own happy pill that makes us both calm and happy. Maybe you have reflected upon feeling a little better after having been outside in the sun? Serotonin is one of the reasons for that. Serotonin also helps the body to exude melatonin when it is time to sleep. Melatonin is one of the body’s sleep hormones that signals that we are tired and need to unwind.
A simple trick that gives very positive effects!
Aim at getting 20-30 minutes of sun every morning, even during cloudy days it gives you the same advantages. Avoid using sunglasses, but obviously do not stare directly into the sun. Your eyes are the best portal for your body to be able to make use of these health advantages!
Avoid caffeine after 12.00
Caffeine can be somewhat of a villain to many in menopause since it stimulates your body’s stress hormones. These stress hormones you may have been able to handle before menopause when the hormones oestrogen and progesterone have helped to keep them under control. But during menopause, when you no longer have the same control, it can be a good idea to try to avoid caffeine after 12 o’clock to see how it feels.
Start by only drinking caffeine during the early hours. After lunch, you can by all means drink a cup of green tea that does not have as much caffeine in it, or a decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea. Caffeine adds a whole lot of unnecessary stress to the body and have a lifetime of approximately 10 hours. Thus, that 15.00 cup of coffee is still lurking in your system when it is time to sleep! Something that you may have been able to handle without any problems before menopause, but you might now be extra sensitive to. Try to be without caffeine after 12.00 and see how it feels!
Eat more fat!
What? Fat? YES! But unfortunately, not the kind of fats you find at the sweets shop. Prioritise a diverse diet with a lot of fibre and protein, but don’t forget the healthy fats! Avocado, nuts, seeds, and also fats from meat and fish! The body needs this lubricant to function properly – so next time you go shopping, make sure to also grab groceries that gives you energy and that the body needs. And above all – enjoy!
This is an overview of the different stages of menopause. It is good to know the basics of menopause but remember – menopause is a natural phase of life and all women experience it in their own way. There are no set rules, so make sure to do what makes you happy and do not forget to look after yourself.
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.