6 Things You Didn’t Know About Menopause

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Menopause


6 Things You Didn't Know About Menopause
6 Things You Didn’t Know About Menopause

We hear a lot about the hot flushes, moodiness and hormone changes, but there are some other unexpected symptoms and side effects of menopause that don’t often get talked about.

Here are six that you might not know:

Menopause goes on for longer than you think
Most women reach menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long menopause lasts, however, there are three distinct phases to the process:

  • Perimenopause – this is a transition phase when periods may start to lighten and become less regular. This phase can take around 4 years and the symptoms of menopause may start during this period;
  • Menopause – this is usually defined as the last menstrual cycle and if a woman has had no periods for 12 months or more it may be assumed that her cycle has finished;


  • Post-menopause – the period after menopause when symptoms can continue. Again, the duration of this period can vary widely for each woman. As this phase progresses, menopausal symptoms may begin to fade and your energy returns.

Hormonal changes can affect your skin

The effect of menopause on the skin rarely gets much airtime, but it can be significant for some women. Flakiness, itchiness, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as an overall lack of elasticity are the results of a drop in hormones during menopause. To help combat this, it’s essential to drink enough water, and to moisturise more often, especially after a shower or a swim, using oil-rich moisturisers or extra-virgin coconut oil, which has been proven to be effective for skin conditions.

It gets harder to sleep
Unless you’re a toddler, sleep is always welcome, but during the menopausal years sleep can seem like an unobtainable treasure. This is due not only to hot flushes but also to the fluctuation in hormone levels, which can interrupt sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep. Sleeping in cotton, in a cooler room and having a cold shower before bed can help, as can yoga and meditation in the evenings. It’s best to avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco before bed.

An itchy or dry vagina is common
Another symptom caused by hormonal fluctuation is the thinning of the vaginal lining. It becomes taught and less elastic, which can lead to itchiness and dryness and can also impact your sex life. While there are short-term treatments that may provide temporary relief, laser treatment can provide a more effective, longer term solution. Known as the MonaLisa Touch, this painless treatment stimulates growth in the vaginal lining and can relieve menopausal-related vaginal discomfort, such as dryness, itchiness, burning and painful intercourse.

Contraception is still essential

While the general assumption is that menopause is a switch that turns off a woman’s fertility, the reality is more of a grey area. In fact, there is still a small chance that conception could take place in a woman who is experiencing perimenopause and menopause. As a consequence,  it’s advisable to continue to use contraception until a doctor has confirmed that the process of menopause is complete.

Menopause can lead to a kind of ‘freedom’
While menopause, in all of its stages, can present a constant challenge, it also beckons a sense of freedom. With no monthly PMS, painful periods, or contraception worries, post-menopause life is significantly easier. Not to mention the amount of money we spent on pads, tampons, PMS medication and chocolate. (Well, maybe the chocolate costs might remain!)


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