Jun 10, 2024 News AMC Team 105 views

Active beautiful middle-aged woman smiling friendly and looking in camera. Woman's face closeup.

There are so many areas of women’s health where we’re yet to meet the education or awareness standards we should, and menopause is one of the prime culprits. With cultural and societal challenges keeping women from accessing the information they need to face menopause with calm, ease, and clarity, it’s urgent for us to look at these knowledge gaps and shift collective perceptions around what menopause entails. If you’re feeling confused or uncertain about what menopause is likely to bring, you’re not alone. We’re pushing back against the information gaps, giving you the key insights you need across each of the three key stages of menopause. It may be an individual experience that’s ahead, but there’s no need to feel alone in this transition. Here’s what to anticipate as you make your way through each stage.

Stage one: Perimenopause

While menopause gets the most attention, perimenopause is actually the stage where most of us experience the majority of our menopausal changes. For most women, this will begin in their late 40s or early 50s (while others may experience early menopause, starting as early as in their 30s). This is when the natural production of oestrogen and progesterone takes a downturn, and as a result, changes to your period’s regularity aren’t far behind.

No two experiences during perimenopause are the same. For some women, their period may become shorter, whilst for others, it becomes even longer. Hot flushes can also introduce themselves, with night sweats right behind them.

Even though perimenopause is most often marked by the physical impacts of these fluctuating hormones, it’s also a time where many women begin to experience emotional highs and lows. This is not only a direct result of those changing hormones, but also of the shifts in identity, capacity, and connection to self that can present throughout perimenopause. 

Simply put: this season of immense change requires grace, awareness, and self-compassion. Menopause is making its presence known, and life as you know it is about to change for good.

Stage two: Menopause

Menopause itself is officially declared once a woman hasn’t had her period for a full, consecutive year. However, pinpointing its onset can be challenging due to various factors, including the irregularity of menstrual cycles and when they ultimately cease.

While the symptoms introduced in perimenopause continue to present throughout menopause, others may also become more noticeable – particularly vaginal dryness. For many menopausal women, a continued decrease in oestrogen levels means vaginal tissues are no longer as lubricated and healthy as they used to be. Alongside juggling existing menopause symptoms, this can make this period even more challenging for women as they navigate new complexities in their healthcare processes and treatments.

It may seem like it’ll never end, but menopause will certainly continue its march towards the end. 

 

Looking for support in every stage of your menopause journey? Our team is here to help!

 

Stage three: Postmenopause

Just when you think menopause is done with you, it’s time to meet its companion, postmenopause. This period is like a strange reward for all that you’ve faced throughout perimenopause and menopause, marking a transition into a new life phase with varying experiences of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. 

You may start to find relief from common menopause symptoms such as those frustrating hot flushes and night sweats, but during postmenopause, there are new health risks to consider. The decline of oestrogen your body has experienced means that now, your risk of developing osteoporosis is increased, placing bone health at the top of your priority list.

This is also a season where many women find themselves truly considering their relationship to themselves and their understanding of their identity afresh. Their fertile years are behind them, and menopause has officially wrapped up – this can lead to a new relationship with themselves physically and emotionally, finding new forms of self-expression, pursuing new hobbies, and creating more time for self-care on the other side of this complex journey towards postmenopause.

Prioritising your physical and emotional wellbeing throughout each stage of menopause

With so many changes ahead, taking a proactive approach to supporting your health throughout each stage of menopause is one of the best ways you can prepare for what’s ahead. This is a stage of life that’s often already seeing high demands on energy reserves, with many needs to be met across personal and professional fronts. Setting aside the time and energy to protect your physical and emotional health throughout menopause is crucial in order to remain safe from the risk of burn-out as each stage begins. 

Some simple ways you can proactively support your health include:

  • Closely tracking your cycle. If you suspect perimenopause is right around the corner, tracking your cycle is one easy way to identify changes in your period. As these changes arise, you’ll then also have a timely record of when and where they began, which is crucial for your healthcare team in assessing your overall menopause trajectory.
  • Building a foundation of self-care. Time out just for you, stress-relieving techniques, mindfulness and meditation – these are all tools that will become more and more crucial as menopause begins. It’s not selfish to be prioritising your self-care needs throughout this time. In reality, this is one of the best ways you can build a strong foundation of health and wellbeing that will support you well through the fluctuations to come.
  • Go back to basics. Good food, a regular sleep cycle, regular exercise – these are the fundamentals of our health and wellbeing, and this remains true throughout menopause. Pay close attention to what your body needs and look for opportunities to increase the quality of the foundational basics that are supporting you in every change you experience.

Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and at the Australian Menopause Centre, we work to empower Australian women with the information and access they need to navigate menopause with confidence and ease. Contact us today to find the high-quality support you need for each of menopause’s three stages. We’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

About The Author - AMC Team

Our team consists of doctors, nurses, program assistants, naturopaths and nutritionists that join their wealth of knowledge to offer our patients and website visitors interesting and insightful articles to assist you understand the symptoms you are experiencing and how to relieve them.

Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter Today

Get great monthly articles for valuable information to assist with your menopause management

Obligation-free Doctor’s Consultation