Do You Need to Prepare for Menopause?
You’re probably asking, “Is there really a way to prepare for menopause?” The answer is yes and no. It’s not like you can go to your calendar and write “menopause” on September 22, 2025. It’s not that easy, although most women sure wished it was; however, although we may not know the exact date that menopause will begin, we can prepare for it by being informed and learning as much as possible about the subject.
From the time of your first period until your 40’s, your ovaries produce estrogen in response to monthly follicle maturation. Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the monthly menstrual cycle and both are produced using male hormones. During her reproductive years, a woman’s ovaries produce more estrogen than testosterone. As menopause nears, the estrogen level declines while the male hormone levels stay about the same. Lacking former levels of estrogen to counteract them, hair growth on the face and oily skin may begin to crop up during the years right before menopause in some women.
As Age Reach 40, Changes Happen
A woman is born with approximately one half million eggs. Over time, that number decreases as some are reabsorbed back into the ovarian lining. As a woman ages get older, the number of eggs available for release also diminishes. As a result, from about age 40, a woman’s period will begin to change.
In her mid-40s a woman becomes perimenopausal. The period of time from perimenopause to postmenopause can take 5 to 10 years. A full decade before you become menopausal, changes are happening in your body that begins to set the stage for the transition from reproductive to nonreproductive states. Up to 50% of women are beginning to experience hot flashes in the two-year period before cessation of menstruation. Menstruation at this time is also likely to be erratic. During this period a woman is considered to be perimenopausal.
As soon as you begin noticing changes in your menstrual cycle, especially if you’re in your 40’s, you should consult with your gynecologist, who will probably want to run a battery of tests. One of the tests your doctor should perform is a blood test that will check your hormone levels.
But change is certain. There is no predicting your own passage through menopause; it may be long or short, bumpy or smooth. Nor can you foresee the time when you will begin it.
Whenever and however menopausal changes appear, it can be valuable to have information beforehand and while you’re experiencing menopause. Studies have shown that women who are prepared to take charge of their own health care tend to do best through the menopausal passage. Information can function as your survival kit as you negotiate your way through this very important change in your life.