Menopause refers to the point in a person’s life when they no longer have a menstrual cycle. It’s preceded by perimenopause, which is when a person begins to experience menopause symptoms.
Although menopause is most commonly associated with women’s health, men can menstruate and experience menopause. No matter what your gender is, it’s important to understand which stage of menopause you’re in to ensure you receive appropriate medical care. Fortunately, there are tools you can use to track which stage of menopause you’re experiencing and strategies you can use to manage the symptoms of menopause.
Perimenopause can last up to four years. When perimenopause begins, your hormone levels will change. During this stage, your estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. Irregular menstrual cycles are one of the most common signs of perimenopause. Other common symptoms include vaginal dryness, night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping.
Most people enter perimenopause during their late 40s. Those who experience premature perimenopause enter this stage in their late 30s or early 40s.
Using a menopause tracker simplifies tracking your irregular periods and effectively projects when you may experience perimenopause symptoms. You can also identify triggers that cause symptoms. For example, consuming caffeine can trigger a hot flash.
Trackers also make it possible to identify potential health concerns. Irregular periods can indicate other health issues, such as fibroids or polycystic ovary syndrome. Using a menopause tracker can alert your physician to potential issues and new symptoms you’re experiencing.
Tracking your symptoms can also make it possible for your doctor to determine your best treatment options. Individuals who are primarily affected by mood swings may benefit from taking anti-depressants. Those who may be susceptible to osteoporosis, including those with low body weight, may benefit from taking medication that prevents osteoporosis or consuming more calcium.
Doctors may also prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT restores your estrogen levels. It can reduce vaginal dryness and other symptoms, such as hot flashes.
When you’re in menopause, you’ll experience many of the same symptoms of perimenopause, including trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. You may not realize you’re in menopause for some time because it refers to the first 12 months following your final menstrual cycle. Tracking your menopause symptoms can help you identify the possibility you’re entering this stage because you’ll note the length of time since your last period.
Once perimenopause begins, you’ll be more susceptible to weight gain, so you may opt to make lifestyle changes during perimenopause and menopause to prevent weight gain. These changes could include reducing your intake of fatty foods and exercising regularly.
Once you know which stage of menopause you’re in, managing menopause symptoms during the summer will be easier. You can anticipate when you’re most likely to experience hot flashes and plan to head to a pool or lake for a swim. You can also join a gym so you can work out without exacerbating your hot flashes by working out in extreme heat.
Postmenopause refers to the time after a person hasn’t had a menstrual cycle for approximately 24 to 36 months. During this stage, menopause symptoms stop. It’s critical to identify when you’re entering this stage because the risk of breast cancer increases during this time. When you start menopause may also affect your risk of breast cancer because those who enter menopause earlier have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer.
Postmenopausal persons are also at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis because lack of estrogen makes bones weaken. If you develop osteoporosis, it’s easier to break bones. Osteoporosis can also cause back pain and reduce your height. Once you’re in postmenopause, you may benefit from making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of osteoporosis, such as taking vitamin D supplements, increasing your calcium intake, and reducing caffeine consumption.
Determining which stage of menopause you’re in can help you implement effective strategies to improve your quality of life. Your doctor can also effectively monitor your progress and identify any symptoms that may indicate other medical concerns.