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What happens during the transition?

Door Claudia Smet 14 Mar 2021 0 comments

Menopauze: Wat gebeurt er ?

However you look at it, every woman sooner or later ends up in menopause. Menopause is a natural phase that every woman has to face in her life. The periods become more irregular and eventually disappear at the end of menopause.

What is the transition?

A woman is born with many eggs in the ovaries. The ovaries produce hormones during the fertile period and this starts the menstrual cycle, where the woman uses the eggs. During menopause, the production of the female sex hormone estrogen decreases and the body says goodbye to the fertile period. In the beginning, the woman gets menstruation shorter after each other and she experiences it more intensely, blood clotting can also occur. After that, the periods gradually go away.

Something similar happens to what a woman also experienced during puberty. Due to a change in the production of the hormones, the body seeks a good balance and can have physical and mental symptoms due to fluctuations in the hormones.

Which phases are there in the transition?

There are 3 phases in the transition:

  • Premenopause: the period before the last menstrual period, during which the amount of estrogen changes.
  • Menopause: the last menstrual period.
  • Postmenopause: the period just following menopause when the body seeks to return to a good balance.

What changes can happen during the transition?

Vrouw in de overgang

A woman usually experiences the changes between the ages of 45 and 55 and different changes can occur:

  • Fluctuations in the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body. This can be accompanied by irregular bleeding, hot flushes, poor sleeping patterns, muscle and joint pain, mood swings, no sex drive, depressed thoughts and headaches.
  • More production of the hormone Ghrelin in the body, which can make a woman more hungry.
  • Leptin function is affected, which affects appetite and satiety.

Contraception in menopause

Specialists recommend stopping the contraceptive pill during menopause because there is an increasing risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. However, the contraceptive pill can help against menopausal complaints such as heavy or irregular periods, hot flashes and sweat attacks, because the pill contains the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. In addition, a woman notices less well when she is in menopause because of the pill, because she experiences monthly artificial bleeding.

When is a woman sure that she has reached menopause?

If she has not menstruated for a year after she has stopped taking the pill. In that year, a woman can use another method of contraception, such as a condom or an IUD. On average, a woman can stop using contraception when she reaches the age of 52, because then the chance of pregnancy is still very small.

Start and duration of transition

The onset and duration of menopause differs for every woman. The period between an irregular menstrual cycle and the last menstrual period, or menopause, is on average four years. But menopause is not complete until a woman has not menstruated for a year. However, menopausal complaints can last five to even ten years and the burden of those complaints differs from woman to woman. The last menstrual period is between a woman's forties and sixties and the average age is 51.

How can a woman influence the menopause herself?

  • A woman is more likely to enter the menopause early if her mother did.
  • The contraceptive pill can partly control the menopause symptoms, but it has no influence on the time at which the menopause starts.
  • A woman enters the menopause on average two years earlier than other peers if she smokes a lot (more than a pack a day).
  • Postmenopause starts immediately when a woman has her ovaries removed and that can be accompanied by severe menopausal symptoms. The menopause can start a little earlier if the uterus has been removed, but this usually does not happen.
  • Natural predisposition (some women have a rare hereditary defect in the female sex chromosome).
  • Rare autoimmune kidney disease e.g. Addison's disease.
  • A treatment in the past with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Personal experience

Every woman has a different experience of menopause. Are you (almost) in transition yourself? Then the transition package from Svensson can help you with menopausal complaints such as hot flashes.

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