Menopause refers to a natural process in which a woman stops menstruating.1 On average, women reach menopause by age 51, but it typically occurs anywhere between the ages of 45 to 55. The transition time between menstruation and menopause is called perimenopause, which starts with irregular periods that eventually taper off. The perimenopause stage can last up to four to five years and causes a range of unpleasant symptoms. Periods can continue during this time, and women may still become pregnant. A woman is considered to have hit the postmenopause stage 12 months after her menstrual periods have stopped.2 It’s important to note that menopause is natural and is not a sign of a disease or illness.
What Causes Menopause Symptoms?
Menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop producing the hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormone levels gradually decline over a period of several years and eventually reduce to the point where a woman’s ovaries no longer release eggs and she stops experiencing her monthly periods.2
Although menopause occurs naturally due to decreasing hormones, other factors can contribute to menopause at an earlier age. For example, a hysterectomy in which both your uterus and ovaries are removed causes immediate menopause and typically produces normal menopause symptoms. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments can kick-start menopause, although this change in the body is not always permanent after stopping treatment.3
Premature menopause occurs before the age of 40 and affects approximately one percent of women. This may be a sign of a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency, which is an autoimmune disease that causes the ovaries to produce less hormone than normal.3 Hormone therapies are often recommended in these situations.
Women may be at higher risk of early menopause if they smoke, abuse alcohol, have hypothyroidism, have a low body mass index, have never had children, or have a family history of early menopause.2
During the perimenopause stage when your body is transitioning into menopause, a range of symptoms can occur,
These menopause symptoms can last for months or years, but it varies depending on the person.
Menopause itself doesn’t require treatment, but treatments are available to help control and reduce menopause symptoms. This can involve hormone therapies, low-dose antidepressants, or menopause herbal remedies.4
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Black cohosh is an herbal remedy that helps manage menopause symptoms. Black cohosh is available in supplement form. Take 20-60 mg 3 times daily.
Soybeans can help reduce menopause symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes. Take 20-60 mg once daily.
Ginseng is considered a therapeutic herbal remedy that can help treat certain menopause symptoms, including anxiety. Ginseng is available in extract, powder or tablet supplements. Take 100-500 mg of ginseng 3 times daily.