Some preconceived ideas about menopause…
Our survey revealed the following:
Before menopause, in perimenopause (35-45 years): most women don’t feel concerned about menopause, nor do they want to define themselves or even think about it!
In the midst of pre-menopause and menopause: in the midst of pre-menopause symptoms (from age 30/35 onwards) and menopause, most women are sometimes so disrupted in their quality of life that they simply don’t want to hear about it anymore! And the stigma is disturbing.
After menopause (12 months without menstruation): phew, we’re no longer concerned by this “scourge”, so much the better…
So menopause doesn’t get much press!
It has to be said that the term is rather ill-chosen: what exactly is a “break”? And why is it so negatively connoted? In the final analysis, it’s all very cultural, and nothing more or less than yet another taboo on the female body in Western culture.
I wish everyone a happy menopause, because it’s a good sign 😊
As a reminder, it’s not an illness but rather a natural physiological phenomenon of transition to a new phase of life, highly valued in certain cultures: in some tribes, women finally become the equal of men!
And yet it’s a social phenomenon that’s all too taboo and hushed up.
In France, we estimate that 2.5 million women are in the pre-menopausal period, and 13 million have reached menopause.
2/3 of them will experience significant physiological and/or emotional effects, and 44% say that this period has negatively affected their quality of life.
A natural step in a woman’s life
The premenopausal cycle starts on average at the age of 35/40, and can last up to fifteen years.
Each woman will experience the symptoms of menopause very differently, and the luckiest may even experience only a slight temporary discomfort.
Common symptoms include hot flushes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, hair loss, lethargy, nervousness and vaginal dryness.
A woman’s psychological and hormonal history generally unfolds in three stages:
- Initially, the drop in androgens may have an effect on libido.
- This is followed by signs of excitability and irritability linked to estrogen excess (estrogen dominance over progesterone).
- And finally, the drop in estrogen at menopause can lead to loss of energy and depression. (Several studies show a significantly higher incidence of depression around menopause).
Fortunately, all troubles eventually fade away, the transition phase ends and women settle into a new hormonal balance.
In general, everything returns to normal within 3 or 4 years, but for some women this can take more than 10 years…
The period following menopause can therefore be one of great stability, with a return to a different but very stable hormonal balance, with lower hormone levels.
Menopause therefore heralds a period of liberation from hormonal fluctuations and their constraints, provided this is well accepted and the metabolic groundwork is good!
5 misconceptions about menopause
Myth No. 1: Menopause lasts 1 year
Well, no, it doesn’t.
On average, menopausal symptoms last between 6 months and 7 years, on average 5 years, and sometimes more than 10 years… and all this is surrounded by an astonishing, almost shameful silence…
So, a few definitions to start with:
- Peri-menopause: phase of hormonal decline, starting at age 30/35 on average.
- Pre-menopause: phase of accelerated hormonal decline and more pronounced menopausal symptoms (40-50 years): 5 to 7 years on average.
- Menopause (between 45 and 55, 51 on average): after 12 months without menstruation.
- Early menopause or P.O.I. (Premature Ovarian Insufficiency): when menopause occurs before the age of 40/45, it affects around 10% of women (2% of women before the age of 40).
- Late menopause: after 55 or even 60. It can be linked to overweight (which maintains estrogen secretion).
And 44% of premenopausal women experience a negative impact on their daily lives(1).
Myth No. 2: Menopause is a punishment
Again according to the KANTAR study, 59% of women see more advantages than disadvantages, but more women who have already gone through menopause than women as a whole (especially pre-menopausal women) say that menopause has more disadvantages than advantages(1).
The main advantage for 55% of women?
“Freedom from the constraints and pain associated with menstruation.”
Myth No. 3: Menopause is no longer a taboo or a social stigma
On this point, there’s still a bit of work to be done, apparently!
1/3 of menopausal and pre-menopausal women have heard jokes and negative remarks about menopause (1).
In this context, one in 5 pre-menopausal women say they have already hidden the effects of their condition in their private lives (1).
And only 1 in 10 pre-menopausal women would be willing to talk to their manager about their problems (1).
34% of women find the subject painful, and don’t feel like talking about it (1)
29% find the subject taboo, delicate.
27% find the symptoms difficult to identify (1).
Myth No. 4: there’s no link between menopause and health
Here’s a preconceived notion that can hurt, literally.
While women are fairly well aware of the increased risk of osteoporosis (69%), they are not very aware of the rest: only half have heard of cardiovascular risks (yet the leading cause of death in women today!), and less than half of cancers and metabolic risks (diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, etc.) (1).
But the good news is that the balance of our hormones depends to 75% on our lifestyle habits, so we can make a difference: read our article on essential nutrients for hormonal balance.
Myth N°5: You can’t delay the onset of menopause
Yes, you can, if you stop smoking in time!
A study of 90,000 smokers aged between 50 and 79 shows that almost half of them went through menopause before the age of 50.
Menopause was brought forward by :
- almost two years for smokers who started before the age of 15 ;
- a year and a half for those smoking up to 25 cigarettes a day;
- a little over a year for women exposed to passive smoking.
But also… on a lighter note, several decades of research have established that having intimate relations at least once a week reduces the chances of entering menopause by 28% compared to women who have intercourse less than once a month ( Published in the Royal Society Open Science.)
According to the study, this could be explained by the body’s response to evolutionary pressures.
“If a woman has infrequent intercourse as she approaches middle age, her body will not receive the physical signals of a possible pregnancy,” and the woman’s body will then invest more of its energy in caring for her family rather than ovulating.” (2)
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
There’s no point crying before you feel pain, but a woman in the know is worth two! If you’re starting to experience certain symptoms on a recurring basis, it’s time to start thinking about this transition phase, so you can live through it as naturally and serenely as possible.
The good news? It’s simple and 100% doable, as long as you can reconnect with your body…
Discover [MY] Women’s Balance
A dietary supplement adapted to women’s cycles, specially developed to support women during hormonal variations (premenstrual syndrome, peri-menopause, etc.) leading to emotional and physical imbalances (fatigue, mental fog), preserve their hormonal balance and strengthen our metabolism against oxidative stress and inflammation.
- (1) KANTAR 2019 study (A sample of 1505 people, representative of the entire population aged 18 and over – including an oversample of 500 women aged 45 to 60)
- (2) Huffington Post