What is Menopause? By Dr. Pamela Dee^

Dr. Pamela Dee, OB/GYN, is a paid spokesperson for Estroven®. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer and do not portray the opinions of the Estroven® brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.

Dr. Pamela Dee^ (Dr. Pam) is America’s leading menopause expert & OB/GYN, and she is on a mission to encourage honest dialogue about the physical and emotional symptoms that accompany menopause. Her goal is to de-stigmatize menopause and start the “Menopause Romance Revolution.” Her new film, LOVE, SWEAT & TEARS shares an empowering message of hope and action. Dr. Pam^ won’t rest until every woman knows the truth about menopause—that there is hope, and that the third part of a woman’s life can be the best and most romantic.

A woman is officially “menopausal” when she has not had a menstrual period for twelve months. However, there are actually several stages of menopause, like the “perimenopausal era,” a very ill-defined time frame from about age forty until the time a woman has had no menstrual periods for twelve months. Below, learn more about the different stages of menopause and what to expect from each.

Stage One

The first stage starts around age forty and is caused by poor functioning of the ovaries as the estrogen and progesterone production decreases. This is the reason that women find it difficult to get pregnant after forty years of age. The menstrual cycle stops being regular, and cycles may vary, ranging from 20-40+ days. A patient may have menstrual cycles every couple of months, and they can be intermixed with periods of very heavy bleeding and clotting. Instead of a normal menstrual flow, there can be unexpected bleeding through clothing and/or the passage of large blood clots (this may cause the feeling that you are laying eggs). In short, the bleeding can be horrendous during perimenopause. Emotional changes may also occur, such as anger, rage, crying, excessive worrying or anxiety. Without notice, women in menopause can fluctuate from feeling peaceful and content to being angry and outraged.

Stage Two

The second stage of menopause typically starts in the mid-forties. It results in even less ovarian estrogen function and a complete disruption of the estrogen and progesterone environment. A patient may have menstrual cycles every couple of months, and they can be intermixed with periods of very heavy bleeding and clotting. This is when hot flashes may start. Usually they start at night (known as night flushes or night sweats), and may cause you to wake up soaked and hot. Then you may promptly become freezing cold. The hot flashes may start happening during the day, and your scalp and head drip sweat at the seemingly most inopportune moments. If these symptoms are especially bothersome for you, consider trying Estroven® Maximum Strength. It’s formulated with twice the amount of naturally-sourced Black Cohosh as other leading brands to help provide maximum relief for both hot flashes and night sweats.*

Stage two ends twelve months after the last menstrual period.

Stage Three—The Final Stage

Now you enter the last stage, at which time you are officially menopausal. Women are completely menopausal when they have no periods (amenorrhea) for a full year. They have no more eggs in their ovaries, and their ovaries do not make any more estrogen. If you think about it, menopause is puberty in reverse. It takes roughly ten years for the entire pubertal process to complete. When we are about eight years old, our hormones start pumping out, but we do not really look any different until we are about twelve years old, when we start developing breast buds and pubic hair. Even though we get our first menstrual period at around thirteen or fourteen years of age, puberty is not finished until around eighteen, when the breasts are fully developed and the hips complete their curvature. After, we have about twenty years of relative stability; our periods are regular, it is not difficult to get pregnant (for most women) and our periods are relatively uniform in terms of time in between them and the amount of days we bleed. Then, around 38 years of age, our ovaries start to fail. Our periods start to stay on longer and get closer together or farther apart. It takes about ten years for your ovaries to work well, but it takes about fifteen years for them to fail. Not only do the emotions of puberty happen again in menopause, but everything else does too—even acne can return.

From this point on, you will always be menopausal. Every woman is different, but most women (around 90 percent) are finished with menopause symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, etc.) in 2 to 10 years. While you’re still experiencing the symptoms, however, it is possible to find relief. Estroven® has a full line of menopause relief products that allow you to choose the best product for your specific needs, from hot flashes to night sweats to menopausal moodiness.* You can learn more about Estroven®’s line of menopause symptom relief products here.*

Estroven® is a trademark of DSM.
^Dr. Pamela Dee is a paid spokeswoman for Estroven®.